Pawar speaks against concession on food grain

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 28, 2012 13:50 hrs

Mumbai, Dec 28 (IANS) Taking on the UPA government over the Food Security Bill, union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Friday said here that huge concessions on food grain could lead to serious problems.

Pawar, who was in Mumbai to inaugurate the renovated Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) office, said that the quantum of subsidy needs serious reconsideration.

"Whether giving concession to nearly 70 percent of the population is necessary is a matter of serious rethinking," Pawar said on the sidelines of the inauguration of the office.

"Foodgrains are the need of everyone. However, we buy wheat for Rs.18 per kg and want to provide it for Rs.2 per kg to nearly 70 percent of the people," he said.

"What I am trying to say is that giving a 50 percent or even 75 percent subsidy is alright. But what we are not considering here is the situation of the farmer who is producing food grain," Pawar added.

He said that while 70 percent people getting wheat at Rs.2 per kg is good, the farmer who produces it will not get a remunerative price and will end up cultivating another crop as wheat is not fetching him a good price.

"If the farmer starts cultivating another crop, wheat production will decline, thereby making the country's food security problem more serious," Pawar said.

The inauguration of the NCP's new Mumbai office was attended by several central and state ministers, including Ajit Pawar, R.R. Patil, Tariq Anwar and Praful Patel.

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