Government Plans to Sell FCI Rice Under New ‘Bharat’ Brand

In response to the escalating food inflation in India, the government is considering introducing ‘Bharat Rice’ under the Food Corporation of India (FCI) at a discounted rate. This initiative follows the successful implementation of discounted prices for ‘Bharat atta’ (wheat flour) and ‘Bharat dal’ (pulses).

Key Points of the Initiative:

  1. Discounted Pricing: The proposed ‘Bharat Rice’ is expected to retail at Rs 25 per kilogram. This rate is significantly lower than the current market prices and aims to make essential food items more affordable for the general population.
  2. Distribution Channels: The government plans to distribute ‘Bharat Rice’ through various outlets, including the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (Nafed), National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Ltd (NCCF), Kendriya Bhandar outlets, and mobile vans.
  3. Background of the Decision: This move comes amidst a significant increase in the all-India average retail price of rice, which has seen a 14.1% increase from the previous year. Food inflation in India stood at 8.7% in November 2023, up from 6.61% in October and 4.67% in November 2022. Cereal prices, in particular, witnessed a 10.3% rise in November.
  4. Government’s Focus on Food Inflation: The government is actively seeking to curb the inflationary trends in key food items, especially with the upcoming 2024 general elections. The introduction of Bharat Rice is seen as a strategic move to provide relief to consumers from rising prices.
  5. Comparison with Other Commodities: The government currently offers Bharat wheat flour and chana dal at discounted rates of Rs 27.50 per kg and Rs 60 per kg, respectively. These commodities are already being sold at more than 2,000 retail points across the country.
  6. Potential Impact on Inflation: Economists and officials view this initiative as a crucial step in controlling price inflation in essential food items. This approach is expected to provide some relief to lower-income groups who are disproportionately affected by food inflation.
  7. FCI’s Role and Current Status: The Food Corporation of India has been part of the efforts to stabilize food prices, including offering rice under the Open Market Sales Scheme (OMSS) to increase its availability domestically. However, the response to the OMSS has been lukewarm, with FCI selling only a limited quantity of rice through this scheme so far.

This development highlights the government’s proactive approach to managing essential commodity prices and ensuring food security for its population, especially in the wake of rising inflation and economic challenges.



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