Food grain stocks well above buffer norms: Pawar

The government today sought to allays fears of a foodgrains crisis that could disrupt the Public Distribution System programme. The government said the stock position of both wheat and rice was much better than that required under the buffer norm.

Agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar informed the Lok Sabha during Question Hour that as per the current stock position wheat availability stood at 300 lakh tonnes against the buffer norm of 162 lakh tonnes.

Similarly, rice stock was 172.11 lakh tonnes while the buffer norm was 52 lakh tonnes, the minister said.

He said there was no shortage of foodgrains for the PDS as well as for other welfare schemes like Mid-Day meal and ample rice and wheat was available. He added that this was possible because of a very good crop last year.

But the real worry about open market availability remains as the paddy crop was less by 15 million tonnes this year so far as 299 districts went without water due to no rainfall and to ensure that prices remained under control. The government has taken several measures including banning exports and liberalising imports of food grains.

On the issue of distribution of ration cards to BPL families the Lok Sabha witnessed some members demanding universal implementation of the scheme even as the government maintained it was following old survey figures to cover more people.