World is looking to India for export of grains: Piyush Goyal
NEW DELHI: Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said the availability of grains has ensured total food security in the country, and the world is now looking to India for export.
The minister’s statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that during his talk with US President Joe Biden, he had offered to supply India’s food stock to the world if the World Trade Organisation (WTO) accords permission.
Addressing media person at the BJP headquarters, Goyal said that between 20 to 30 lakh tonne wheat has been exported in the last few weeks and a contract for export of 30 to 35 lakh tonne wheat has been signed for April-June quarter.
“Two years ago, the export of wheat was about 2 lakh tonne, which went up to 20 lakh tonne, last year it was 70 lakh tonne and this year we are expecting it to go up to 100 lakh tonne. Our Annadata (farmers) have ensured that not just India but the whole world is taken care of…,” he said.
The minister also said that the global situation including the higher oil prices and the Russia-Ukraine conflict is responsible for the price rise. He said the government is taking all measures to control inflation by removing duties on imports of several essential items like pulses.
On Tuesday, PM Modi, during the inauguration of a boys’ hostel and education complex of Shree Annapurna Dham Trust in Adalaj near Ahmedabad via video-conference, said, “The world is facing a new problem now; the food stock of the world is getting empty… I was talking to the US President, and he also raised this issue. I suggested that if WTO gives permission, India is ready to supply food stock to the world from tomorrow.”
“We already have enough food for our people but our farmers seem to have made arrangements to feed the world. However, we have to work according to the laws of the world, so I don’t know when WTO will give permission and we can supply food to the world,” PM said.
The world is amazed to learn that India is providing free ration to nearly 80 crore of its people for over two years following the emergence of Covid-19, Modi said. “...the world is facing an uncertain situation... Everybody wants to secure their stocks after this (Russia-Ukraine) war began,” he added.
On Wednesday, Goyal denied the allegations by Telangana chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao that the union government had reneged on its promise of procuring parboiled rice from the state.
He said the union government followed the procurement policy which is uniform for all states.
“We have clarified this on more than one occasion, the nation has one policy applicable across the country in all the states. As far as procurement for the national food security programme is concerned, we strictly abide by that policy whether it is in Telengana, Punjab, Haryana or the northeast. Any state government that wants to supplement that through their programmes is a welcome step,” he said.
In response to a question on the stand-off with Telangana over the procurement of parboiled rice, he said that it was a declaration by the BJP that prodded the chief minister to start purchasing from the farmers directly. Rao announced this week that he would procure the entire paddy stock from the farmers.