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Manipur govt urges Centre to lower prices of PDS rice amid tensions

Rice under the public distribution system (PDS) will be given to the people of Manipur at ₹32 per kg instead of ₹34 if Union government approves the request (mint)

New Delhi: The state government of Manipur has requested the Union government to lower rice prices to ₹3,200 a quintal from ₹3,400 amid tension in the state, three government officials aware of the matter said.

On his visit to Manipur on Thursday, home minister Amit Shah announced a relief and rehabilitation package for the state in the wake of ethnic violence. Shah said the Centre has sent 30,000 tonnes of rice in addition to the state’s quota to ensure uninterrupted supplies of essential commodities.

A state government official said there are no food security concerns in the state. However, the state will lift an additional 30,000 tonnes of rice at ₹3,200 per quintal from the Food Corp of India (FCI) over three months from June in addition to its monthly lifting of a little less than 12,000 tonnes.

This is because of the current poor law and order in the state that is hampering agricultural activity, and to ensure food supply to people who are not yet covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the 10 hill districts on 3 May to protest the demand of the Meitei community, that accounts for 53% of Manipur’s population and primarily inhabits the Manipur Valley, for scheduled tribe (ST) status, causing the deaths of more than 80 people.

Property worth crores of rupees has also been destroyed in the violence, leaving thousands homeless.

The escalation in violence in Manipur has its roots in an over=10-year-old demand by the Meitei community for the ST tag. The immediate reason for the violence is an order by the Manipur High Court directing the state government to recommend to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry by 29 May, an ST tag for the community.

Rice under the public distribution system (PDS) will be given to the people of Manipur at ₹32 per kg instead of ₹34 if Union government approves the request. Further, the state will pay the FCI for this rice.

The Union food and public distribution ministry had in January issued detailed guidelines on the open market sale scheme (OMSS) domestic (D) for both rice and wheat. In the guidelines, it mentioned that states may be allowed to purchase rice, including the fortified variety, from FCI at ₹3,400 per quintal without participating in e-auctions.

However, the state has 45,405 tonnes of rice in the godowns of FCI and state agencies, according to FCI’s stock position data.

Emailed queries sent to the Union Department of Food and Public Distribution, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution department of Manipur and Resident Commissioner Manipur on Thursday remained unanswered till press time.

As on 16 May, the Union food and public distribution department’s grains procuring agency has a total 20.4 million tonnes (MT) rice across India against the operational and strategic reserve norm of 13.5 MT as on 1 July.

In the ongoing kharif marketing season (April-September), FCI has procured 73.7 MT paddy, and nearly 6.3 MT rabi paddy till 2 June, latest procurement data from the FCI showed. QR Code

Published Date: June 4, 2023

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