Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday said that the government is committed to enacting the Food Security Act and that the financial implications of this will be known only after the Planning Commission determines the number of families living below the poverty line.
He told reporters here that the act had two aspects – one to ensure availability of food to all and another to provide to BPL (below poverty line) families 25 kg of wheat or rice atRs.3 per kg. “So far, as the subsidies are concerned, that will depend on the number of the BPL families which will be finally determined by the Planning Commission,” he said.
Mukherjee said that the country would have to produce enough food to ensure food security.
“The current level of production is between 225 million tonnes and 230 million tonnes. As the population is growing, production level has to go up and that is why we suggested that green revolution should be extended to the eastern region and the production of certain types of food articles should go up.”
He said the government decided to dedicate 60,000 villages as pulse and edible oil villages. A special provision of Rs.300 crore has also been made for this in the current year’s budget.
Mukherjee was here to chair a meeting of chief ministers of southern states and chief executive officers of public sector banks and financial institutions. It was the fourth and last in the series of his consultations on financial inclusion.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah was the only chief minister to attend the meeting. Other states were represented by cabinet ministers.
The finance minister said the southern zone was relatively better and advances compared to other zones in terms of credit flow, availability of banking facilities, rural banking and core banking services.
“Still there are certain gaps. It was discussed how the gaps can be filled what the states can do, what bankers can do and what the central government can do,” he said.