KTR pitches for national food grain policy, blames Modi regime for crisis

KTR on Saturday demanded Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal that the Centre implement 'one nation and one food grain procurement' policy

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HYDERABAD: TRS Working President and Telangana IT Minister Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao (KTR) on Saturday demanded Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal that the Centre implement 'one nation and one food grain procurement' policy. Food security in the country is at risk and the lack of foresight in the policies of the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government is the main reason for this unfortunate situation, he remarked.

"Six months ago, the Centre boasted that it had enough wheat and rice reserves for four years. Ironically, the same Centre imposed a 20 percent duty on rice exports saying that the foodgrain stocks in the country are diminishing. This proves the policy failure of the central government in the procurement of food grains," KTR said.

The Modi government, which has already imposed restrictions on the export of wheat and wheat based products, has recently levied 20 percent duty on rice exports and imposed a ban on the export of broken rice as well.

KTR said that the Modi government had taken this decision due to fast diminishing stocks of food grains in FCI godowns and at various centres. The reason for the current state of affairs is the Centre's lack of awareness of the basic needs of the people and lack of a clear food grain procurement policy, he added.

The Telangana Minister also ridiculed the Centre saying that, in a bid to portray Telangana as a failed state, the Modi Government fell in its own trap. "Six months ago, when the Telangana government appealed to the Central government to buy the foodgrains from the State, the Centre outrightly refused saying that the country has more than the required reserves. The Same Central government has imposed restrictions on food grain exports now," he commented while demanding an explanation from the Union Minister in this regard.

KTR said that India's food security was in jeopardy due to the discrimination of the Modi government against Telangana State and its farmers. He said that the current food grain crisis clearly indicated a clear lack of a long-term plan with the Modi government to manage the country's food needs. It is people's misfortune that the inefficient BJP government at the Centre neither has a clue about the development and welfare of people nor does it have a strategic long term plan, the Minister criticised.

"Six months ago, Union Minister Piyush Goyal spoke very insultingly to the Telangana team that visited Delhi with a request to buy paddy grown in the State. The Union Minister not only refused to buy paddy, he also insulted Telangana people by asking the delegation to make people in the State start consuming broken raw rice," KTR recalled.

The TRS Working President felt that Telangana, which stands as a role model to the rest of the country, was not getting the support it deserved from the Modi government. He said that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's indefatigable efforts had resulted in the completion of the irrigation projects in the State in a record time. "This brought forth revolutionary changes in the agricultural landscape of the state that has a history of long-drawn struggle for water," he added.

KTR said that farmer-friendly initiatives of Telangana government boosted the agriculture sector in the State. "Lakhs of acres have come under cultivation, thanks to the innovative schemes like free electricity and Rythu Bandhu. The large quantities of paddy grown in Telangana makes the State the rice bowl of the country," he said.

However, the farmers of Telangana have faced severe difficulties due to the restrictions imposed by the Modi government to buy boiled rice in the Yasangi season, KTR said, alleging that the Centre had put pressure on the states to persuade farmers to cultivate crops other than paddy. "As a result, compared to the last rainy season, paddy cultivation has decreased by about 95 lakh acres across the country this season. There is a possibility of reducing the production of rice by 12-15 million tonnes across the country. This is why the Centre has controlled rice exports," he claimed.

The Telangana Minister criticized the Modi government's failure to have a comprehensive food grain procurement policy for the country. Not having food security in a country with a population of 140 crores indicates the short-sightedness of the BJP government, he lamented. KTR demanded that the central government now change its policies and give priority to welfare of the people and food security. A clear policy should be formulated on the country's agricultural sector and food needs, he felt.

The TRS Working President stated that the Telangana government had always advocated 'one nation one procurement policy' for this purpose. "But the central government is causing a lot of trouble for the farming community by not implementing a clear policy on grain procurement. The Centre is giving more importance to politics than having foolproof procurement policies. This is why the country is facing the foodgrain crisis now," he said.

The Minister advised the BJP-led Central Government to set aside politics for the sake of the food security of the country and take unbiased decisions. KTR also asked Union Minister Piyush Goyal to take steps to procure the entire food grains from states like Telangana which are producing food grains in large quantities.

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