Geared up to face drought situation, says Centre

Government today said the spectre of drought over a few states and the likelihood of a lower rainfall pattern this year should not be a concern for a "panicky situation," as it is geared up to face the situation with enough stocks of foodgrains and sugar.

Last year the production of both foodgrains and sugar had overshot the estimate leaving the government with adequate resources for the coming years, Union Minister of State (In-charge) for Food K V Thomas said.

"As for foodgrains, the Government of India is the largest stockist. FCI (Food Corporation of India) storage as on date is to the tune of 82 million tonnes. What I need for Public Distribution System (PDS) is just 55 million tonnes," he said in his inaugural address at the third edition of 'FoodCon 2012' here.

The government had stocks of rice for a year and wheat for three years and there was no need to worry though he warned of "shortage" of vegetables, fruits, edible oil and other essential items like pulses. These were being imported.

"With advanced review, we can face the drought. There is no need for a panicky situation," he said while noting that IMD had forecast a 23 per cent shortage in monsoon.

Parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan besides some areas in Central India were affected becasue of the low rainfall and a subsequent drought-like situation, he said.

He, however, noted that the production of both foodgrains and sugar last season had overshot the estimates by a large margin, leaving the "granaries full."

The record foodgrains production of 245 million tonnes in 2010-11 was likely to be surpassed in the 2011-12 crop year. he said.

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