Interests of farmers, consumers high on agenda: Paswan

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Monday that interests of farmers and consumers were high on the government agenda.

“Interests of farmers and consumers are high on the agenda of the government,” he said adding that “the government has taken a number of initiatives to improve food-grain management during last one year.”

He was briefing media persons about the initiatives taken by his ministry in the last one year.

He further said that additional storage capacity of more than 43,480 lakh tonnes has been created in remote areas, specially in the northeast, to keep the food-grains allocation in advance at least for three months.

He said that in order to protect farmers interests, the government not only relaxed quality norms for procurement but also decided to bear value cut, if imposed for shrivelled and broken grains, so that farmers get full minimum support price for produce.

According to the minister, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been asked to work out a plan for procurement of pulses and oil seeds from farmers on MSP and to adopt an aggressive paddy procurement plan in the regions where market price generally rules below the MSP and distress sale is reported, especially in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

To ensure efficient implementation of the National Food Security Act, the Centre has decided to bear 50 percent expenditure of food grains handling and of dealers margin money, the minister said.

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