Rs 2000 cr for Rs two-a-kg rice scheme from Ugadi

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Hyderabad, Feb 16 (UNI) Ahead of the elections, the Andhra Pradesh Government will launch Rs two-a-kilo rice scheme to provide food security to the poor and needy, covering 80 per cent of the state's 80-odd million population, from Ugadi, the Telugu new year.

Finance Minister K Rosaiah, who presented 2008-09 budget in the State Assembly today, said the new scheme for which Rs 1,980 crore had been allocated, was aimed to fulfill the commitment of the Government to the poor and downtrodden.

Though the food subsidy was only Rs 88 crore when then Chief Minister N T Rama Rao introduced the scheme in 1983, he asserted that the Rs two-a-kilo rice scheme would be introduced on April 7, on the occasion of the Telugu New Year.

Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in a brief post-budget interaction with the media, said the white card holders would hugely benefit from the scheme as rice in the Public Distribution System was currently sold at Rs 5.24 a kg and was around Rs 15 a kilo in the open market.

Mr Rosaiah said along with the subsidised rice scheme, the Government had established rural grain banks to provide foodgrains on credit basis during natural calamities like flood and drought, benefitting 1.81 lakh families.

Another Rs 30 crore has been provided for market intervention scheme to ensure proper functioning of Rytu Bazaars and control price rise as part of its food security schemes.

Extending another social welfare measure, the Finance Minister announced the allocation of Rs 310 crore during 2008-09, to provide crop loans at a low interest rate of three per cent to farmers, in order to achieve the targeted four per cent agricultural growth. The Pavala Vadi scheme was also being extended to weavers and small scale industries.


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