Modi govt ‘anti-poor’, says Cong

New Delhi:  Accusing the Modi government of being “anti-poor”, the Congress on Wednesday said the Centre discontinued the sale of foodgrains from the central pool under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to state governments to “scuttle” the Karnataka government’s Anna Bhagya scheme.

The Anna Bhagya scheme, one of the five pre-poll guarantees of the Congress, promises 10 kg rice for every BPL (below poverty line) family in the state.

In a tweet, Congress general secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh accused the Modi government of indulging in “vendetta politics”.

“Most recent chronology of Modi’s anti-poor and vendetta politics: May 13th, 2023: PM and BJP rejected comprehensively by people of Karnataka. June 2nd, 2023: CM Karnataka announces implementation of Anna Bhagya guarantee from July 1st that will give 10kg free foodgrains to poor families. June 13th, 2023: Union Government issues circular banning sale of rice from FCI to states under Open Market Sale Scheme. This is done to scuttle Anna Bhagya,” he said.

He said the Karnataka government was willing to pay the Food Corporation of India (FCI) Rs 3,400 per quintal, but that window was closed.

“But FCI continues to sell rice at Rs 2,000 per quintal for ethanol production and blending of petrol. Food security should be of paramount concern at all times,” Ramesh charged.

A recent order issued by the FCI said, “The sale of wheat and rice under the OMSS (domestic) for state governments is discontinued.” However, the sale of rice under the OMSS will continue for northeastern states, hill states and states facing law and order situations and natural calamities at the existing rate of Rs 3,400 per quintal, it said.

The FCI may liquidate rice under the OMSS to private parties from the central pool stock as per requirement in order to moderate the market prices, it added.

The Congress has been claiming that this step of the central government will hurt the most marginalised sections of society.

Five kg of rice was already being provided to every member of a BPL household in Karnataka. It is now being enhanced to 10 kg by the new government.

The Punjab government has come forward to supply the rice required for Karnataka’s Anna Bhagya scheme.