Centre keen on Food Security Bill: Pranab

His observation came with a rider though. The agricultural production had to be increased and a balanced delivery system put in place to make the subsidy programme a success, Mukherjee said.

“'We are committed to ensuring food security. To make it successful, we need to produce more, procure more and strengthen the delivery mechanism,” he said while  addressing a conference on extending the Green Revolution to the country's eastern region.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was also present on the occasion.
The National Advisory Council, headed by the United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, which is looking into the aspects of the draft Food Security Bill, will advise the government on the matter. The issues under discussion include raising the number of beneficiaries as well as the quantity of supply to them.

No dearth of fund

There would be no dearth of fund, he said, for the agriculture sector, especially with regard to strategic initiatives for food security.

A sum of Rs 400 crore has been reserved for six eastern states—Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and eastern Uttar Pradesh, though not adequate for the requirement of the area. It will be allocated in 2010-11.

“There will be no dearth of resources as the programme moves on. We need to ensure that benefits of the scheme accrue the farmers on time so that they can reap maximum benefit before the kharif (autumn sowing) season,” Pranab  Mukherjee said. The minister’s statement comes in the backdrop of the Centre’s promise for enactment of a National Food Security Act, which promises to provide 25 kg of foodgrains at Rs 3 per kg every month to families living below the poverty line (BPL).

After the allocation of the fund, the eastern states should ensure that food grain production increases substantially so that when India touches 1.5 billion population in 2030, food is available to all, Mukherjee said.

Stocking up food

The Finance Minister also said there was a need to ensure future food stocks to meet calamities like drought.

“Sustainable agricultural growth will lead to inclusive growth.”
The Green Revolution foresees the adoption of new seed varieties, farm machines, nutrients, pesticides and knowledge-based intervention, developed for different agro-climatic zones, to achieve the objective of increasing productivity.

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