Govt to provide edible oils at subsidised rates

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New Delhi, Jun 20 (UNI) The government today said it will supply edible oils at subsidised rates through ration shops in 15 states from next month, in a bid to ensure steady availability and provide relief to the poorer sections of society.

The government said in a statement that it has introduced a scheme for distribution of 10 lakh tonnes of imported edible oils in 2008-09 at a subsidy of Rs 15 per kg through state governments at the rate of one kg per ration card per month.

The subsidy will be to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore.

Public Sector Undertakings -- PEC, MMTC, STC and NAFED -- have been entrusted the job of import, refining, packing and distribution of subsidised edible oils to the states.

PSUs have already contracted import of 1.79 lakh tonnes of edible oils for the purpose. Out of this, one lakh tonnes of edible oils have been shipped to Indian ports.

The 15 states involved in the scheme are Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu&Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal.

These state governments have been allocated oil by the Department of Food and Public Distribution. PSUs have started giving packed edible oil to the states.

The availability of edible oils in the country from domestic sources is less than the demand and the deficit is being met by imports, the statement added.

The import dependence on edible oils has been 34 per cent to 39 per cent of the total consumption of edible oils in the country during the last three years.

There was unprecedented rise in international prices of edible oils in the last two years, which has also affected domestic prices.

The government had earlier this year scrapped import duties on some edible oils, banned exports and suspended futures trade in soyoil, in an attempt to contain rising prices.

It also allowed state governments to impose stock limits on edible oils and oilseeds.

UNI SBA MP KN2133

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