No dearth of food grains in the country: Pawar
Assuaging the concerns about the delay in the progress of south-west monsoon, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said heavy rains are expected in the coming days even as the food grain situation in the country remains comfortable. Addressing a press conference here, Pawar said there is 31% shortfall in rains as on Jul 2, 2012 but the situation will improve soon. Arguing against pressing the panic button, Pawar said that last year was an exceptional year and hence it would be wrong to compare it with this year's situation - which is close to the normal range.
"The Met Dept has said that 76% of rains are expected in Jul and Aug; there is ample time to cover up the shortfall," he said. About concerns on availability of food grains given the delay in sowing in many states, he admitted that early sowing has been affected in some states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. "Sowing time is still left and (crops) can be sown once the rains normalise," he stressed.
Pawar said that all states have prepared contingency plans in an event of further delay of monsoon while pointing out that, as of now, a total of 823.17 lakh tonnes of food grains are in stock. "...Ample stock, no problem of availability of food grains. If time comes the government is ready to supply whatever quantity the states ask. The government will also take a decision at the appropriate time to enter the open market. There is no dearth of food grains," he said.