Foodgrain stock crisis: PM to meet key Cabinet Ministers, Planning Commission chief

New Delhi, May 1: Keen to address the nation’s foodgrain crisis, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is expected to meet key Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

According to a television channel report, Dr. Singh is expected to meet Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Food Minister K.V. Thomas, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, tomorrow evening.

The focus of the meeting is likely to be on how to best manage the huge stock of foodgrain, estimated to peak at nearly 750 lakh metric tonnes by June 1 this year.

The Food Corporation of India has already said that it will be faced with an unprecedented problem of shortage of storage capacity which might result in large stocks lying in the open or, on unscientific plinths.

On the cards is an additional allocation of eight million tonnes of foodgrain to people below the poverty line, 6.5 million tonnes of for the Above Poverty Line category and even subsidizing foodgrain exports.

Thomas recently pointed out that these issues have been discussed within the Empowered Group of Ministers on Food, but decisions have not been taken due to the quantum of subsidy involved in each case.

C Rangarajan, Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, is also expected to attend the meeting. (ANI)