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Rs 100 bonus on wheat MSP
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 16
Concerned about the country's food security and less procurement of foodgrains for the Public Distribution System, the government today announced a bonus of Rs 100 on the minimum support price of Rs 750 per quintal of wheat for the current rabi season.

Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told the Rajya Sabha that the government was committed to ensuring that there was no shortage of wheat in the country. "To avoid any shortage, the government has also decided to permit duty-free import of wheat till December 31 this year," he said.

The government's decision to pay bonus comes in the wake of a significant shortfall in the procurement target last year when agencies procured only 92.26 lakh tonnes of wheat as against the target of 162.07 lakh tonnes, forcing import.

Assuring that the government would do everything possible to support farmers get better returns from their land, Pawar said it was also committed to providing adequate foodgrains to the poor.

"The government will import, if necessary, adequate quantities of wheat to meet the requirements of the public distribution system and other welfare schemes like mid-day meals, ICDS, other employment and nutrition programmes. The STC will be asked to take preparatory steps to import up to 3 million tonnes in case of need," he said.

The minister said the government had been concerned about the food security of the country and the need to increase productivity in agriculture. "We have also been concerned about the deteriorating terms of trade in agriculture. Last year, we had no option but to import wheat to meet the needs of PDS and also the demands of the open market," he said.

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