Subsidised sale: 1cr families to get essentials from June 1 – The Daily Star

Subsidised sale: 1cr families to get essentials from June 1 – The Daily Star

The government has decided to provide essentials at a subsidised rate to one crore families through “family cards” from June 1, aiming to ease the pressure they are facing with prices hikes.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi yesterday announced the decision at a press briefing after the second meeting of a task force at the ministry’s conference room.
The force was formed recently to keep rising commodity prices in check.
The government earlier issued the card to 88 lakh low-income families across the country. The remaining 12 lakh families will be getting their cards withing the June 1, the ministry said.
“[Around] Three crore people are below the poverty line. As we are giving essential commodities to one crore families, it means at least five crore individuals will reap its benefits.”
The essentials that will be delivered through the family cards are edible oil, lentil and sugar. 
Munshi said essentials, however, will not be sold at the subsidised rate at TCB trucks or open market sales points.
Responding to a question, he said they are going to develop a system in which the TCB can sell products at subsidised rates directly in order to reduce subsidy.
Asked about edible oil supplies, he said, “After a discussion with stakeholders, we learnt that we have enough supply to meet our demands and there is no need to worry.”
The minister said the price of edible oil has increased due to the price hike in international markets, as 90 percent of soybean and palm oils in the country is imported.
He added they have discussed the alternatives of soybean and palm oils, such as mustard oil, rice bran oil and canola oil.
“It is possible to produce seven lakh tonnes of rice bran oil here, meaning this oil will meet at least 25 percent of the country’s edible oil demand.”
He, however, said rice bran oil prices have to be lowered to the level of other edible oils in order for people to be able to purchase it.
The agriculture ministry also said lands where mustard cultivation is possible are available in heaps.
Munshi said they thought of adding canola oil as it is good for health but will work on levelling its price, which is generally high, for family card holders.
About the wheat crisis, the minister said India has not cancelled wheat export to Bangladesh as the government-to-government agreement is still valid.
“Bangladesh will be able to import wheat from India as the embargo [on exporting wheat] will not impact our country. Around 64 percent of our wheat demand is met through imports from India,” he said, adding that the existing stock is also enough to meet local demand.
Asked how long the volatile situation in the prices of essentials will continue in the market, he said it cannot be known as the crisis is a global one.
‘আমার ভাইয়ের রক্তে রাঙানো’ খ্যাত একুশের গানের রচয়িতা আবদুল গাফ্‌ফার চৌধুরী মারা গেছেন।

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