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Rs. 2 A Kilo Rice Scheme

AP Role model in anti-poverty program- Rs.Two Rice scheme.

Andhra Pradesh has always been at the forefront of anti-poverty programs in the country.

Inspired by the Garibi Hatao slogan of the former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi subsequent Congress regimes all over the country had launched programs to provide essential commodities and staple food at subsidized rates.

The Dr.Y.S.Rajasekahra Reddy will launch the Rs. Two per Kg rice scheme on April 9th all over Andhra Pradesh with the  goal of providing adequate staple food for all the poorest of the poor  population in the state.

“We have succeeded in achieving a record food grain production of 195 lakh tons this year and energizing the agricultural sector. Now we can take care of all the poor  in the state  by giving them safe and cheaper  food grains  which they can buy from their wage earnings  from the  successful  NREGS  scheme “ says  Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy .

The scheme will benefit 1.72 lakh Below poverty level (BPL) families holding the white card with a maximum of 20 kgs at the rate of four kgs per member in the family of five members costing the state government a total of Rs.1980 crore in the form of subsidy for the scheme.

Although the state received  rice allotment from the  centre  under the  Antyodayan  Anna  Yojana  of the  centre, the state government has decided to provide rice at an  additional  subsidy  burden of Rs. Two per kg to all without differentiating among the poor beneficiaries.                                            

As part of the effort the AP government is providing rice at  Rs.Two per  kg to 1.72 crore  BPL card holders, nearly 22 lakh  APL (above poverty   level)  pink card holders and beneficiaries of the  AAY  scheme. However for the   benefits of the students in social welfare hostels and NCLP and RBC beneficiaries the state government has fixed the price at just Rs. Four per kg while 25 kgs of rice is given free of cost to the crippled and destitute among the weavers community in the state.

The objective was to reduce poverty levels in rural villages by providing staple food at prices below market prices. It was felt that such an initiative helped  the poorest of the poor and  destitute  families  by providing them  at least  two morsels of  food  every day  while they strived for  livelihood wages as  farm labor.

Congress Chief Minister K Vijayabhaskar Reddy launched the scheme:

The credit for introducing the scheme in earnest goes to Sri K.Vijaybhaskar Reddy, the veteran congress chief minister in 1982. He introduced the scheme  to sell  rice  at Rs.1.90  to  Rs.2.15 per kg  at  fair price shops all over the state when the issue price  (state average market price) was just  Rs.2.52  per kg.

The program was made available to agricultural labor, marginal farmers, artisans and other similarly placed groups with an income level of below Rs.6000 per annum.

Scheme Modified and diluted by the TDP

The success of the scheme was such that even the subsequent Telugu Desam government was compelled to enforce the scheme. The then chief minister N T Rama Rao re-introduced the scheme at a flat rate of Rs.Two per kg when the state average market price was Rs.2.74 per kg.

The TDP government politicized the scheme and used it as their political and election plank subsequently.  In view of the huge burden on the state exchequers the scheme was haphazardly implemented. By the end of the first TDP regime the rice scheme had   shot up to Rs.3.50 per kg.

When the  congress party  came to power  again in 1989  the scheme was implemented whole heartedly  to benefit the poorest of the poor the prices were once again brought down to the  pre -1983  rate of  Rs.1.90 per kg even when the market prices  were  Rs.3.87 per kg of rice.

Subsequently when the market prices shot up to Rs.5.90 per kg of common variety of rice the state government pegged down the subsidy component to Rs. Two only and revised the tariff to Rs.3.50 per kg.

But the Congress government ensured that not a single poor was left out from the scheme and the quantum of 25 kgs per family of four was ensured .

After the TDP resumed power in 1995 the regional party brought out lot of changes in the scheme to suit its policies as its policy of prohibition had almost made the state bankrupt.

The TDP government also hiked the price of rice to Rs. 5.50 and later reduced to Rs.5.25 in view of the public uproar as the market prices of common variety of rice soared to Rs.12.37 per kg.  Even then  the pro-  urban  and pro-IT  Government of Chandrababu Naidu dilly dallied and  reduced the quantum of rice per family from  25 to  20 15 kgs.

Rajasekhara Reddy Governments’ determined resolve:

The Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy government has now focused on providing the poorest of poor adequate food grains for sustenance and also for promoting gainful employment in the agricultural sector.

Ever since it took over in 2004 the congress government had endeared itself for the betterment of the livelihood of the farmers and for rural development.

The Key criteria of the Dr.Y.S.Rajasekahra Reddy Government is to promote sustainable agricultural activity for the farmers, provide agricultural infrastructures like irrigation projects, free power, subsidized seed and fertilizers as agricultural input  subsidies.

The YSR government took up massive irrigation projects (JALAYAGNAM) developing basic amenities in villages on par with towns under INDIRAMMA scheme, provision of health insurance (RAJIV AGROGYASREE) and create employment generation (RAJIV UDYOGSRI).

“What  we  aimed  was to provide sustainable  agricultural activity in village to  stem  migration of  farmers to cities in search of livelihood activity and also take up  saturation level  infrastructure development in  rural areas  so that to encourage the educated rural youth  to become partners in national building activities from wherever they  were  located “  says  the chief minister  Y S Rajasekahra Reddy.

AP Role Model

The Rs.Two rice scheme of Andhra Pradesh had found acceptance as a popular anti-poverty measure all over the country.

The Government launched the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) for the poorest of the poor on 25 December 2000. Under this scheme, 25 kg of food grain was made available to each eligible family at highly subsidized rates of Rs two per kg for wheat and Rs three per kg for rice.

he scheme is still operational but for a limited  section of the  BPL families  in the country  while the  new scheme of the AP government  encompasses the  entire  BPL spectrum  in the state . The scheme also provided for sustenance of the aged, poor and destitute families in villages during the famines, droughts and other natural calamities. 

 


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