TRS working president and Minister for IT and Industries K.T. Rama Rao has observed that the “irrational policy decisions of the Centre” and “lack of foresightedness” were leading the country towards shortage of food grains.
Reacting to the Centre’s decision to increase the export duty on rice and impose a ban on the export of broken rice, he said here on Saturday that the Centre’s “discriminatory attitude” in the procurement of foodgrains, particularly paddy, during the two previous crop seasons in Telangana, had led to the situation and demanded that the Centre bring a “one nation-one procurement” policy at least now, to overcome the threat to food security by extensive procurement of foodgrains.
He alleged that the Centre had mortgaged the country’s food security by not procuring huge quantities (lakhs of tonnes) of paddy during the two previous crop seasons. He also suggested Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal to procure entire produce of foodgrains from States to ensure food security to the country by maintaining ample buffer stocks.
“In its attempt to paint Telangana as a failure State, the Narendra Modi Government at the Centre had fallen in its own trap. The Centre has claimed just six months back that there are sufficient stocks of wheat and rice in the country to meet its needs for four years,” the TRS leader pointed out. However, in a decision going completely against its claims, the Centre had imposed 20% tax on rice exports besides banning the export of broken rice, he noted.
Mr. Rama Rao reasoned a sharp decline in buffer stocks of wheat, rice and broken rice in FCI godowns and other warehouses for the Centre’s decision. He recollected that when the Telangana Government had requested the Centre to procure more paddy from it six months back, the reason cited by it was that there were abundant stocks of foodgrains in the country to refuse higher procurement.
Recollecting Mr. Goyal’s “insulting remarks” made to a team of Ministers from the State that called on him requesting for higher procurement of paddy from Telangana, to make people learn consuming broken rice to overcome the problem of excess parboiled rice production, KTR said: “By banning export of broken rice, perhaps he may cultivate the habit of consuming it”.
He demanded Mr. Goyal to explain people the reasons behind the Centre’s decision on rice exports. He alleged that Centre’s lack of proper understanding on the country’s food needs had prevented it from having a clear policy on procurement and led to the present situation.