ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Caste Factor and Karnataka Poll Outcome

CERC study reveals that the actual implementation of PFA testing is well below the levels which are necessary as per the govern- ment's-own norms. Other studies have indicated that anywhere between 40 and 80 per cent of the total quantum of edible oils released to the public distribution system find their way to the private trade and ultimately to the open market, either as palm and palmolein oils or through adulteration. The difference between sale price at the PDS and the domestic prices has been varying across years but has never been below Rs 6 per kg. The advantage accruing to the trade on account of the illegal blending of imported oils in domestic oils is estimated on a conservative estimate of 50 per cent leakage of PDS oils in the market. It may be noted that the PDS of edible oils has been working reasonably well in southern states in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh but leaves much to be desired in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and northern states. On the basis of the above logic the figures of surpluses deserved and undeserved accruing to various stake holders in the edible oil sector are given in Table. It may be noted from the table that for an imported value of Rs 850 crore the total value received by the system is over Rs 2,560 crore. Thus the rupee surpluses within the system are of the order of Rs 1,700 crore. Of this, the central government gets Rs 800 crore, various state governments get Rs 300 crore and the balance accrues to vanaspati industry, oil trade and in part to consumers. The stale government has adopted some peculiar ways of allocation and lifting of edible oil. The largest recipients of edible oils imported by the SIC for the so-called public distribution purposes are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. These five states together have accounted for between seven and eight lakh tons of annual allocation to states. Of these at least Gujarat and Andhra,Pradesh are edible oil surplus states. In fact Gujarat is supposed to be exporting about five lakh tons of oils to other consuming states in all the years. Further more up to 50 per cent of the edible oils are issued to the states between October and February. The largest quantum of domestically produced oilseeds are harvested and processed during this time. The inescapable conclusion we have to accept therefore is that the large allocations to producing states during peak harvesting seasons are made for no other purposes than for helping the oil trade in its intention of appropriating and cornering a large chunk of the imported oils and using them for earning wholly undeserved profits through adulteration. This conclusion is further warranted because the distribution of oils by state PDS to various districts shows a uniform pattern across the months in a year. If the allocation to districts is to be made at uniform rate throughout the year there appears no reason for this disproportionate allocation during peak harvesting season.
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