Thursday, Jun 05, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The stocks, which were of 1998 and 1999 vintage, had been identified State-wise and depot-wise and would be cleared through domestic and export-related disbursals, Mr. Yadav told a press conference.
For exporters the stocks would be sold at rates fixed earlier this month and for the domestic market, the prices would be decided in consultation with the State Governments. Committees had been formed at State-levels for this. Ninety per cent of the stock was in Punjab and Haryana and were in good shape. One of the main objectives for disposing them of was to ensure that they were sold before they began to rot, Mr. Yadav said.
The total stock of grains with the Food Corporation of India stocks had dipped by one-third to 42 million tonnes as on May 1 this year from 62.5 million tonnes on the corresponding day in 2002 owing to large-scale exports, massive food-for-work schemes, rising domestic off-take and due to low procurements because of drought.
While the exports had gone from 46 lakhs tonnes to 122 lakh tonnes, stocks released to service the targeted public distribution system through fair price ration shops had increased to 190 lakh tonnes from 138 lakh tonnes. A meeting with State authorities would be convened soon to further improve this.
"There has been a record off-take for the BPL (below poverty line) families at 160 lakh tonnes up from 117 lakh tonnes. With this, PDS allocation now meets around 50 per cent of the total monthly cereal requirement of all households in the country.''
Mr. Yadav announced that his Ministry would soon come out with a policy on foodgrains exports to remove the various logistical bottlenecks and ensure the country's long-term presence in the world grain market. The new policy would result in simplification of procedures and provide for better infrastructural support.
He said he would meet the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, along with the Agriculture Minister, Rajnath Singh, in a day or two to try and find a solution to the sugarcane price issue in Uttar Pradesh. A new date for a Centre-State meeting on strengthening the PDS and improving its functioning would also be discussed. A meeting scheduled for April 16 had been postponed due to Parliament session.
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