New Delhi: Attributing inflation in the country to global foodgraincrisis, Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar said on Thursday that the sharp rise in prices of wheat and edible oil can be traced to many countries switching to cultivating grains like corn and biofuel.
He rejected the Opposition’s charge that India too was using agricultural land for cultivation of crops used for biofuels. Pawar said the use of ethanol has been permitted by successive governments but it was obtained from waste like molasses and the cultivation of jatropha was limited to barren areas of Kutch in Gujarat.
Warning about the impact of climate change on agricultural production, he said that the states of Punjab and Haryana would be affected more than other states because of this phenomenon.
Justifying the drop in foodgrain allocation to above poverty line ration card holders, Pawar said the government data showed that there were diversions, upto 100% in wheat to the open market. However, he said that BPL allocation of foodgrains would not be curtailed.
Pawar said since prices of sunflower oil and palm oil have increased globally, their import has become dearer. But still the government has removed all types of duties to facilitate their imports, he said. Pawar said the government has decided to import one million tonne of edible oil and give Rs 15 per litre subsidy to be sold through PDS.