Govt to import food items to bridge shortfall: Mukherjee

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee

"Decision is already there that whichever commodity will be in short supply, to maintain demand-supply mechanism, we shall go for imports," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said addressing state agriculture ministers here.

Already, there is a short supply of pulses and edible oil, he pointed out.

Mukherjee, however, said that the government will not announce the timing of the import to ensure that prices are not jacked up artificially by the international players.

"The moment news is spread that India is going for big import, the market prices are jacked up," he said.

On the impact of drought, the Finance Minister said that it does not affect only production, it has a cascading effect. Scanty rainfall will affect recharge of ground water.

He assured the country that the government has the experience to deal with such situations and "we need not lose confidence in ourselves."

The government will have an estimated 18 million tonnes of wheat as of April 1, 2010 and 13.6 million tonnes of rice as of October 1, 2009.

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