“There is no such proposal of increasing issue price of subsidised food grains. Rice wheat and coarse cereals will continue to be sold at Rs 3, 2 and 1 respectively through ration shops,” he said.
This is contrary to the recommendations made in the Economic Survey, which batted for an increase in selling prices of wheat and rice under the NFSA. The Survey said that as the food subsidy bill is “becoming unmanageably large” and while it is difficult to reduce the economic cost of food management in view of rising commitment towards food security, there is a need to consider the revision of central issue price (CIP) to reduce the bulging food subsidy bill.
Goyal said that government is committed to provide maximum return to farmers and at the same time giving maximum relief to consumers.
“The procurement at minimum support price (MSP) has increased during Modi government. In the last 7 years, MSP payment was all time high during 2020-2021 with payment of Rs. 75000 crore benefiting 4.34 million wheat farmers while Rs 1.72 lakh crore were paid 15.4 million paddy farmers,” he said.
Goyal said that the government will implement one nation one ration card scheme by July 2021 enabling migrant workers to purchase subsidised food grains from any ration shop across the country.
“We have integrated 32 states and union territories for one nation one ration card scheme. Four states Assam, Delhi, Chhatisgarh and West Bengal are being targeted to get integrated by March 2021. But it is depending upon the technical readiness of the states and union territories in terms of availability of ePoS devices and operationalisation of biometric authentication of beneficiaries,” he said.
Goyal said that the government is also working towards reducing the cane arrears. The allocation for sugar industry significantly increased to about 6000 crore.
“We have allowed to export 6 million tonnes sugar and Rs 6 per kg as subsidy is directly paid in the account of sugar cane farmers. The diversion of excess sugar and utilization of foodgrains to ethanol for blending with petrol will help in timely payment to sugarcane farmers and increase income of farmers and also to make India Atmnirbhar in petroleum sector,” he said.