Sunday, March 24, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PDS price for APL families cut
Clear power dues, Centre warns states
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 23
The Union Cabinet today announced several measures, including reduction in central issue price for foodgrains meant for Above Poverty Line (APL) by Rs 100 per quintal for three months to liquidate the surplus foodstock of around 58 million tonnes. The Cabinet also decided to extend by another six months the tenure of Justice Nanawati Commission of Inquiry probing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

The decisions were taken at the Cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The reduction of central issue price by Rs 100 per quintal would lead to an increase in the offtake of foodgrains under the PDS. As a result, wheat would now be available at Rs 5.10 per kg and rice at Rs 7.30 per kg.

The quantum of foodgrains under APL, BPL and Antoydaya household would now be 35 kg per month.

The Cabinet also decided to allow open-market sale of 50 lakh tonnes of wheat and 10 lakh tonnes of rice at a price to be determined by a high-level committee of the Food Corporation of India (FCI).

There is no revision in the prices for BPL and Antyodaya families, an official spokesperson said.

The price of wheat for BPL families is Rs 415 per quintal and of rice Rs 565 per quintal.

The cabinet also decided to boost be export of foodgrains with the condition that the export prices of wheat and rice should not be lower than the BPL issue prices for BPL household. The measure is expected to increase exports substantially as the export price works out lower than the prevailing international rate.

In a major power sector reform initiative, the government tonight made it mandatory for states to clear their long-pending electricity dues of Rs 36,000 crore to central power companies or issue bonds as one-time settlement.

It was also decided at the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, that failure to clear the dues or issue bonds would invite punitive steps like snapping of power supplies to defaulting states by power companies, including the NTPC, highly placed sources said. The decision follows wide-ranging parleys held by Power Minister Suresh Prabhu with almost every state for building a consensus.

As per the decision, the SEBs would get electricity only after clearing the dues, failing which the Centre would deduct from funds meant for states.

The CCEA decided to recover the outstanding dues up to September, 2001, instead of February, 2001.Back

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