ASSAM Government is giving finishes touches to the ambitious scheme for providing rice at the rate of one rupee per kg to the vulnerable sections of the society as promised in the budget for 2019-2020. Assam’s population is mostly rice eaters. The scheme called ANNA (affordable nutrition & nourishment assistance) will be formally launched on March 1. Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the current distribution system under the National Food Security Act will not be disturbed. The samabay samitis will get the same transportation cost and commission. However, instead of Rs 3 per kg, they will lift the rice from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) through a challan of Rs 1 per kg.“The State government will pay the remaining Rs 2 to the FCI directly. We have already released Rs 54 crore to the FCI for the purpose,” Sarma said.The scheme will cost the government Rs 27 crore per month. The scheme is expected to benefit 53 lakh families – those having ration cards – who are currently getting rice at Rs 3 under the NFSA, the Minister said. The scheme will be launched formally by the Samabay Samitis meaning cooperatives on February 28.Under the second component of ANNA, four lakh card holders in tea garden areas will get free rice from March 1. “We have identified four lakh cards which belong to tea garden areas. They will be given free rice. But the transportation cost and commission of the samabay Samitis will be the same. Sarma also informed them that the government plans to provide two kilograms of free sugar to ration card holders in tea garden areas soon. Arrangements are being readied for this purpose, he added (pic courtesy to twentyfournews.com).