The government has taken a significant step to address the impact of rising retail prices of rice by launching ‘Bharat rice’ at a subsidized rate of ₹29 per kilogram. This move aims to ensure that daily food items remain affordable for the common people. The launch of ‘Bharat rice’ is part of the government’s retail intervention under the Price Stabilization Fund (PSF), which aims to benefit a larger population.
Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal emphasized the government’s commitment to providing relief to the middle class and the poor through this initiative. ‘Bharat rice’ will be retailed under the ‘Bharat brand’ and will contain 5 percent broken rice. The government plans to provide 5 lakh tonnes of rice to cooperatives such as the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India (NCCF), and retail chain Kendriya Bhandar in the first phase.
These agencies will then pack the rice in 5 kg and 10 kg packs, which will be sold through outlets and e-commerce platforms under the ‘Bharat’ brand. The decision to opt for the retail sale of Food Corporation of India (FCI) rice comes after a lukewarm response to bulk sales through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS). The government has been encouraged by the success of ‘Bharat atta’ and ‘Bharat chana’ at affordable rates and expects a positive response to ‘Bharat rice’ as well.
Minister Piyush Goyal shared his personal experience, expressing satisfaction with the ‘Bharat dal’ and ‘Bharat atta’ qualities. Despite efforts to control rice prices through measures like export restrictions, the government continues to face challenges in managing rising retail prices.
In order to prevent hoarding, the government has requested that processors, retailers, wholesalers, and large retail chains reveal their stock holdings. When the government gave away free FCI rice to 80 crore holders of poor ration cards, experts said that since FCI has a large stock and sells the grain through OMSS, there could not be a high rate of inflation in FCI rice. Thus, non-FCI rice varieties—which the impoverished consume in smaller quantities and which do not accurately depict inflation trends—are most likely the source of the inflation.
The launch of ‘Bharat rice’ at a subsidized rate of ₹29 per kilogram is a significant step towards ensuring food affordability for the common people. By providing rice under the ‘Bharat brand’ through various retail channels, the government aims to alleviate the impact of rising prices and make essential food items accessible to the middle class and the poor.
As the government expands the availability of ‘Bharat rice’ through cooperatives and retail chains, consumers can expect greater convenience in purchasing this essential staple. The 5 kg and 10 kg packs will cater to the varying needs of households, while the ‘Bharat brand ensures a standard quality that consumers can rely on.
The success of previous initiatives, such as ‘Bharat atta’ and ‘Bharat chana’, indicates that consumers have responded positively to affordable options. With ‘Bharat rice’ now added to the range of subsidized food items, the government hopes to provide relief to a larger section of the population.
While challenges in managing rice prices persist, the government’s commitment to food affordability remains steadfast. By implementing retail interventions like ‘Bharat rice’, the government aims to stabilize prices and make essential food items accessible to all.
Overall, the launch of ‘Bharat rice’ at a subsidized rate is a positive step towards addressing the impact of rising retail prices. This initiative reflects the government’s dedication to the common people’s welfare and commitment to ensuring food security and affordability.