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Scheme for supply of imported pulses at Subsidised rates to States/UTs for distribution under Public Distribution System to Below Poverty Line Card Holders approved

New Delhi: October 4,2012

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today gave its approval for introducing a variant of the earlier scheme for subsidized distribution of imported pulses through the Public Distribution System (PDS) with the nomenclature “Scheme for supply of imported pulses at subsidised rates to States/UTs for distribution under Public Distribution System to Below Poverty Line Card Holders” with a subsidy element of Rs.20 per kilogram to be paid to designated importing agencies upto a maximum of the number of BPL card holders.

The approval of the scheme would help in making available pulses, a critical protein requirement of the vulnerable section of society Below Poverty Line (BPL card holders), at subsidised rates. This will provide cushion to the vulnerable sections of society against any significant increase in the prices of pulses.

The new scheme is in the form of an interim arrangement to tide over the possible spike in prices of pulses. Imports are to be undertaken by the designated agencies, such as STC, MMTC, PEC, NAFED and NCCF. These designated import agencies will be directly entering into contract with the States/UTs for supply of imported pulses to be distributed under PDS. Subsidy amount to be claimed by the state/UT will be in line with the figure of the state-wise BPL households used by the Department of Food and Public Distribution for allocation of foodgrains to States/UTs for distribution under PDS. State/UT Governments will monitor and ensure that the distribution strategy enables the subsidy benefit to reach the targeted population.

The release of payments to the importing agencies would be made within a time frame as existed in the earlier PDS scheme. This scheme will be in operation till 31.03.2013 and a decision regarding its continuation will be taken early next year.

Background:

The scheme for subsidised distribution of imported pulses through the PDS with a provision of Rs.10/- per kg as subsidy element was introduced in 2008, and pulses were to be imported by the designated PSUs viz. STC, MMTC, PEC, NAFED and NCCF. The PSUs were to supply pulses in bulk to the State Governments and the maximum quantity that was to be distributed would not exceed one kg. of pulses per family per month. The distribution was to be restricted to BPL families, but could also cover a part of Above Poverty Line (APL) families, depending on the availability and distribution logistics.

The benefits under the scheme had been availed by a few states. In view of the currently anticipated fall in the production of pulses coupled with the uncertainty in the availability of pulses in the international market, the need to protect the interests of BPL population has given rise to the present proposal.


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