New Delhi- The government is closely monitoring the prices as well as the demand-supply situation of all essential food items, Union Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary on Tuesday said while asserting that it is committed to balancing the interest of both consumers and farmers.

The government has formed a panel to regularly monitor the prices and availability situation, he added.

“The government is monitoring the prices and availability of food items. It takes measures to boost domestic availability and keep prices under check,” Choudhary said as he was replying to a question about food inflation and the recent export ban on non-basmati white rice.

He was speaking at an event to launch ITC’s postal stamp on millets in collaboration with India Post.

Based on the demand-supply situation and retail price, he said the government decides on imposing export duty or putting restrictions on exports.

The minister said there is no problem on the supply front of food items in the country.

“The government looks at the interest of both consumers as well as farmers and tries to strike a balance,” Choudhary said.

According to the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the inflation in the food basket was at 4.49 per cent in June, higher than 2.96 per cent in May. The food basket accounts for nearly half of the CPI (Consumer Price Index).

The data revealed that the annual rate of price rise was 19.19 per cent in case of spices, 12.71 per cent in ‘cereals and products’, 10.53 per cent in ‘pulses and products’, and 7 per cent in eggs. Fruits too were marginally costlier in June year-on-year.

However, there was a decline in inflation in ‘oil and fats’ (-18.12 per cent) and vegetables (-0.93 per cent).

Addressing the event, the minister emphasised on the need to promote production and consumption of millets.

He said the demand for millets is growing globally and this will help India being the largest producer.

The increase in demand for millets both domestically as well as overseas would help farmers, especially small ones, in increasing their income, Choudhary said.

Already, he noted that the prices of bajra have more than doubled in the last three years and farmers are fetching better rates.

Choudhary highlighted many health benefits of millets and stressed on promoting the consumption of this superfood for better health.

He said the government is making efforts to create awareness about millets and appreciated the initiative taken by ITC to boost the production and consumption of millets.

The minister also highlighted various steps taken by the Modi-led government in the last nine years for boosting the growth of the agriculture sector such as the PM-KISAN scheme and around a 5-6-fold jump in agriculture budget.

He said the government’s initiatives in the last nine years have helped in enhancing farmers’ income.

Choudhary said there is a need to provide latest technology to farmers.

He said the government is providing subsidy to promote the use of drones in the agriculture sector.


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