In response to soaring rice prices, the government started nationwide distribution of 'Bharat Rice' at Rs 29 per kg, on February 9, 2023. The financial burden on consumers amidst a 14.5 per cent hike in retail prices of rice price last year is expected to be alleviated. Piyush Goyal, the Food and Consumer Affairs Minister, unveiled the subsidised rice, packaged in 5 and 10-kg packs, to mitigate the financial burden on consumers. Here's how this initiative will impact household budgets and where to buy subsidised rice and other crops
The domestic prices of rice are increasing despite a good crop this Kharif, ample stocks with FCI in the pipeline and various regulations in place on Rice exports. The rice industry needs to ensure that the prices in the domestic market need to be brought down to optimal levels and that efforts at profiteering are dealt with strictly. The Annual Inflation Rate of Rice has hovered around 12 per cent for the past two years and is cumulating over the years which is a cause of concern, the government had said.
To ensure transparency and regulate stock levels, wholesalers, big chain retailers, and processors in all states are mandated to declare their rice and paddy stock positions weekly on a government portal, the government said. Further to prevent undue market manipulation, the government has started the Bharat rice initiative.
Several states in India were struggling with exorbitant rice prices when Bharat rice was launched. For instance, as per local media reports, in the wholesale market of Kerala’s Valiyangadi, Kozhikode, the price for Ponni rice started at Rs 47 per kg on January 15, 2023. Now the same 150 bags of the same ponni rice variant were sold yesterday alone in Kerala’s Thrissur through the Bharat rice scheme. People from many states of India can thus save a lot of money from their monthly budget.
With the implementation of this Rice scheme, poor people of India can save Rs 1500 to Rs.2000 monthly on their food expenses, the government said. You can buy subsidized Bharat Chawal online from the mobile apps of NAFED, NCCF, and Kendriya Bhandar but currently online delivery is limited to select regions in the country which have to be checked on the app. If you are not directly purchasing from vans or outlets, you can order it online but delivery charges will apply.
In November last year, the government started the sale of subsidized wheat under the brand name 'Bharat Atta'. Bharat Atta is sold at Rs 27.50 per kg. Apart from Bharat Atta, subsidized Bharat Dal (Chana Dal) and Onion are also being sold by the Central/State cooperative agencies through physical/mobile retail outlets.