The UPA government will fulfill the Congress promise of providing rice and wheat at cheap rates through ration shops in the wake of record procurement by the state agencies, Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar said on Monday after taking charge.
"Government has not taken a decision ...(but) we will be able to fulfill the promise," Pawar said when asked about the poll promise of the Congress Party of providing a minimum of 25 kg rice or wheat at Rs 3 per kg to those living below poverty line.
While the government has enough food stocks in its godowns, Pawar did not commit on providing rice or wheat at Rs 3 per kg to the poorest sections.
"Rs 3, 4 or 5 (per kg) is not important, what is important is stocks and we have stocks," he said in his first press conference after taking charge as the Agriculture, Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution.
The Congress Party in its election manifesto had promised to provide food security to the poorest of the poor by law.
The government agencies, mainly the Food Corporation of India, has purchased a record 23.3 million tonnes wheat as on Monday against 22.6 million tonnes in the entire procurement season last year.
Rice procurement of 29 million tonnes has been achieved so far this season against 28.5 million in the entire season last year.