In a step to prevent distress sale of paddy in the state, Odisha government today set a tentative target of procuring 30 lakh tonnes of rice during the 2016-17 kharif marketing season (KMS) beginning November 1. The Food and Procurement Policy for Kharif Marketing Season, 2016-17 was approved at the cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here today, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma said.
The cabinet approved a proposal to extend by another three months the period for reducing the rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) on pulses and dals of all kinds under the Odisha VAT Act, 2004, Chief Secretary A P Padhi said. As the state government procures paddy from farmers during Kharif and Rabi seasons separately under the KMS, the target was set to collect 30 lakh metric tonnes of rice, equivalent to 44 lakh tonnes of paddy.
The minister said as per the minimum support price fixed by the Centre, farmers would get Rs 1,470 per quintal for common variety of paddy. The rate of Grade-A variety of paddy was fixed at Rs 1,510 per quintal, he said, adding that procuring agencies and district administrations would make wide publicity regarding the FAQ (fair average quality) of paddy.
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While the state-run Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation procures 95 per cent of paddy, other agencies, if necessary, would be deployed in surplus districts, the minister said. He said the Kharif paddy would be procured during the period from November 2016 to March 2017 and Rabi paddy during May and June, 2017.
The paddy would be procured from farmers who are registered in the online portals of the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department. “So far 8.29 lakh farmers have got themselves registered with the department,” the minister said, adding 95 per cent of the paddy producers have been provided Aadhaar numbers.
Aadhaar seeding would be used for paddy procurement and the farmers would be paid online under the P-PAS system. The facility has been extended to 294 of 314 blocks in the state, he said. Replying to a question, the minister said while the state required only 19 lakh metric tonnes of rice for public distribution system, remaining rice is to be given to the FCI.
The cabinet also extended another three months for imposition of one per cent VAT, instead of five per cent on pulses of all kinds in view of the demand of traders. Though the government has sustained a loss of about Rs 5 crore twoards VAT in three months due to reduction of the rate of VAT on pulses, it would like another three months extension as sale of pulses has increased, the Chief Secretary said.
In another decision, the cabinet approved a proposal of the finance department to reduce the rate of VAT from 14.5 per cent to 5 per cent on LPG cylinder manufacturing. As neighbouring states like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand maintain 5 per cent VAT on LPG cylinder manufacturing, the Odisha government would also bring it down to increase transaction, Padhi said.