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Distributing free foodgrain not practical: PM

Monday, September 06, 2010 06:07:32 PM, IANS

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Free foodgrains for poor: Pawar gets apex court flak

The Supreme Court Tuesday came down heavily on union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar for saying that the court's suggestion on free distribution of foodgrains to the poor was not binding on  

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday he appreciated the Supreme Court's sentiment behind its suggestion about distributing foodgrain free to the poor, but made it clear that it was not a practical idea.

"How can foodgrain be distributed free to an estimated 37 percent of the population which lives below the poverty line," Manmohan Singh asked during an interaction with editors at his official residence.

 

He said this when asked about a recent Supreme Court order directing Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to distribute foodgrain free to the poor instead of allowing it to rot.

It was not possible to give free foodgrain to all the poor, Manmohan Singh said, adding that he had not not seen the final judgment of the court.

The prime minister stressed that he respected the "sentiments" behind the decision and assured that a way would be found to ensure that the people's needs are met at a time when foodgrain is rotting.

"I do recognise that food should be available to the people below poverty line at concessional prices. We have not not allowed any increase in the issue price of foodgrains to people below poverty line since 2004," he said.

The government had taken adequate steps in this direction to make food available to the poor at affordable prices, the prime minister said.

 

He, however, qualified this by stressing that making food available free would destroy incentives to farmers to produce more. If there was no food available, there would be nothing to distribute, he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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