Major steps taken to ensure availability of foodgrains

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New Delhi, Apr 28 (UNI) The Centre today said that though India is not listed as one of the 37 countries facing food crisis as per reports issued by FAO, International Grains Council and Grain Market Report, various remedial steps have been initiated after due assessment to ensure adequate availability of food stocks in the country and that food security remained sacrosanct.

The Lok Sabha was informed that the fiscal steps taken to ensure food security include reduction of tariffs to zero for rice, wheat, pulses, edible oils and maize, to 7.5 per cent on hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils, to 30 per cent on butter and ghee and withdrawing 4 per cent additional CVD on edible oils.

In a written reply, Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Akhilesh Prasad Singh said Administrative Measures have been taken like banning of exports of non-basmati rice, wheat, major edible oils, major pulses, imposition of stock limits on rice, wheat, edible oils and oil seeds, periodic enhancements in MSP for rice (Rs.645 per quintal for common rice and Rs.675 per quintal for grade A rice) and wheat (Rs.1000 per quintal), using MEP to regulate exports of onion (currently 180 dollars PMT) and basmati rice (currently 1200 dollar PMT), maintaining CIP for rice and wheat and measures taken by Forward Markets Commission.

Dr Singh said the Medium Term Strategy Initiative includes to increase production through investment of Rs.30,000 crores for improving productivity in agriculture and allied sectors through, National Food Security Mission (Rs.4883 crores -prov.) targeted to increase production of rice, wheat and pulses by 10 million tonnes, 8 million tonnes and 2 million tonnes, respectively, by the end of Eleventh Five Year Plan and Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (Rs.25000 crores).

The Minister further informed that pending revision of buffer norms and in order to ensure food security in the country, Government has decided that a strategic reserve of 50 lakh tonnes of foodgrains would be maintained by Food Corporation of India (FCI).

The strategic reserve would be built up over a period of time starting from 2008-09. The cost of maintaining the strategic reserve would be borne by the Government.

UNI BBS RP AS1728

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