Manmohan Singh assures states of support in tackling drought (Lead:Manmohan)

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New Delhi, Aug 8 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday assured all the State Governments of full support from the Centre to tackle the problem created by inadequate monsoon.

Manmohan Singh was discussing the drought like situation in the country with the Chief Secretaries of all the states here.

Describing drought like situation as, a difficult one Singh has said the Centre has adequate foodgrains and would not hesitate to take strong measures and intervene in the market if the need arose.

"We are operating today against a back drop of record production and procurement of foodgrains in last two years. This was made possible by the substantial increase in the minimum support prices and other policy initiatives," Singh said.

Singh stressed on the better coordination between the Centre and states for effective implementation of public distribution system and action against hoarders.

"We are in a position to ensure adequate availability of food grains in drought affected areas. We should not hesitate to take strong measures and intervene in the market if the need were to rise," Singh said.

He asked the Chief Secretaries to operationlise the contingency plan for crops, drinking water, and fodder without any delay.

Manmohan Singh expressed concern over the non-utilization of funds under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, and the National Food Security Mission by several states, and asked the Chief Secretaries to ensure the proper utilization of funds meant for farmers.

Emphasizing the need to act promptly, collectively and effectively, he assured the Centre's full support regarding any additional assistance that States would require on this front. "In no case, should we allow citizens to go hungry."

Singh also instructed them to keep a close watch on availability of food grains and prices of essential commodities and cautioned that the reduced production of Kharif crop in the current year may have an inflationary impact on prices of food items in the coming months.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar attended the meeting. (ANI)

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