India may import rice, if necessary, says Pranab Mukherjee

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New Delhi, Nov. 18 (ANI): Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said that India has quite adequate stocks of food grains though some imports may be needed at a later stage, due to projected shortfall in Kharif crop.

"We have started the rice season with almost six million tonnes surplus, which began from October 2009, with starting of wheat season from 1st April with surplus of almost 7 million tonnes. Therefore stock is quite adequate," Mukherjee told reporters here.

"Since there is a projection that there would be some shortfall about kharif crop, to make it up we may have to make some imports, but exactly what quantum and at what point of time we will decide later," he added.

Earlier in the day, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had said that India was looking at importing rice from Thailand and Vietnam.

This would be the first time in 20 years that India would be importing rice.

The government might also consider banning cotton exports to help domestic supply, Sharma added.

Three state-run trading firms last month floated rice import tenders totalling 30,000 tonnes and received 18 bids ranging from 373 to 599 dollars per tonne. (ANI)

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