Paddy Procurement through Producer Levy:
A Case Study of Kerala
IN THE 20-point economic programme announced by the Prime Minister following the declaration of national emergency in June 1975, first place was given to the distribution of essential commodities at reasonable prices. The question is whether and what instruments exist for the successful implementation of the underlying policy. It is possible to approach this question by analyzing the public distribution system as it actually worked during the last few years. Kerala's experience is valuable for such an exercise for two reasons. First, it is the only state where the public distribution of foodgrains extends practically to the whole population. Secondly, a graded producer levy for the procurement of paddy (the only cereal produced in the state) has been in force for a decade. The importance of producer levy lies in the fact that the alternative of relying on open-market purchases based on a system of procurement prices has resulted in disastrous failures par ocularly in poor crop years all over the country. This article examines the working of the system of producer levy in Kerala and the inadequacy of legislative measures for the successful implementation of policy.
The Kerala Rice and Paddy (Procurement by Levy) Order1 1966> (referred hereinafter as the RPO) was issued by the state government-