New Delhi, Aug.15 (ANI): With nearly one-fourth of the country facing drought because of a poor monsoon this year, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh,asserted on Saturday that his government had adequate stocks of foodgrains to ensure that no Indian citizen would go hungry.
Addressing the nation on the occasion of its 63rd Independence Day, Dr. Singh also said that all efforts would be made to check rising prices and hoarding.
"No one will go hungry...we will provide all possible assistance to our farmers to deal with the drought," Dr. Singh said.
"We have adequate stocks of foodgrains. All efforts will be made to control rising prices of foodgrains, pulses and other goods of daily use," he said. He also urged state governments to take firm steps against black marketers and prevent the hoarding of foodgrains and other essential goods.
In a much needed sop to farmers, the Prime Minister said the government has postponed the date for the repayment of loans and would provide additional support to the farming community for payment of interest on short-term crop loans.
Singh also appealed to corporate India to join in the government's efforts to tackle what was a very difficult situation,and "fulfill their social obligation."
He said the country needs another Green Revolution, and added that the goal is to achieve four to seven percent annual growth in agriculture sector in the next five years.
Dr. Singh also announced that his government is giving serious consideration towards introducing a Food Security Law under which every family below poverty line (BPL) will get a fixed amount of foodgrains at concessional rates.
He also promised to improve the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), making it more transparent and accountable.
The government would also take steps to ensure that the benefits of development reach all citizens, sections and regions of society.
"Every effort will be made for the citizens to be prosperous, secure and able to lead a life of dignity and self respect," Dr.Singh said.
Dr. Singh cautioned that the benefits of good programmes would not reach the common man till the government machinery is made corruption free.
In this regard, he said public administration must be more efficient and the delivery system has to be improved to provide basic services to the citizens.
Calling for a new era of cooperation and harmony in national life, Dr. Singh said the people had rejected sectarian politics in the last elections and chosen a political arrangement which is secular.
The Prime Minister promised to take everyone along and create an environment of consensus and co-operation in the country.(ANI)