Food Security Bill: Govt assures minimum support price to farmers

FoodGovernment has assured farmers they will continue to get minimum support price.

Government on Monday assured farmers they will continue to get minimum support price (MSP) even after implementation of the Food Security law.

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Allaying fears expressed during the debate on the Bill in Lok Sabha, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas said, "we are not going to freeze the MSPs...whatever foodgrains comes to mandis" will be procured.

Government provides MSP on wheat, paddy and dozen other commodities. MSP is fixed by the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP).

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"Whatever be the recommendation of the CACP that will be accepted by the government...We will continue to procure and distribute foodgrains," he said.

Referring to queries on the storage capacity in the country, Thomas said it has increased to 75 million tonnes from 55 MT and will go up to 85 MT by 2014-15.

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"This is not enough. We should have intermediate godowns. States should build this," he said, adding, the Centre is providing assistance to states for building godowns.

He admitted that the public distribution system (PDS) in the country was weak, but said steps have been taken during the past years to improve it.

He said duplication and leakages have been checked as the number of ration cardholders have come down to 16 crore from 22 crore in the past four years.

The minister said damages and losses during procurement has come down to 0.07 per cent from 2.5 per cent five years back.

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