More rice and wheat at lower price through PDS

New Delhi: Concerned over the rising food inflation, the government on Wednesday announced that it will sell wheat and rice through ration shops at a price lower than what it pays to procure from the market.

Announcing the decision, which will cost the exchequer about Rs 2,000 crore in six months ending November 2010, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said wheat would be sold at Rs 8.42 per kg while rice at Rs 11.85.

A total of 30 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice would be sold to ration card holders at a price lower than the minimum support price (MSP), at which the government buys the grains from the market.

The MSP for wheat is now Rs 11 per kg, while for paddy it is Rs 10.50 per kg for common variety and Rs 10.80 per kg for higher quality.

This 30 lakh tonnes is in addition to the quantity of wheat and rice that would be given over and above that is given under ration card quota.

"EGoM today took a decision to give additional five lakh tonnes wheat and rice every month to all card holders," he said.

At present, the government provides 35 kg of rice and wheat per Below Poverty Line family every month and 10-35 kg for others. As of now, there are 18 crore card holders.