The Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence, Arun Jaitley announced the General Budget 2014-15 on July 10, 2014 in New Delhi. Amongst other issues covered in the budget, Jaitley said that the Government is committed to reforms in the food sector. He also stated that the issues that would be taken up on a priority basis would include restructuring the Food Corporation of India, reducing transportation and distribution losses and efficiency of the Public Distribution System.
Jaitley added that the Government is also committed to provide wheat and rice at reasonable prices to the weaker sections of the society. Factors like inadequate rainfall and decline in agricultural production would not pinch the stomachs of the poor since the stocks at the Central pool are adequate enough. He also said that the Government would undertake open market sales to keep food prices under control. This statement comes after a recent report by a daily tabloid stating that large amounts of wheat and rice are left rotting in the godowns of the Food Corporation of India due to official lethargy.
The FCI had smashed down these reports stating that the total movement of food grains undertaken by the FCI during 2013-14 was at an all time high compared to the previous year’s figures and loses have been minimal during these transits.
The question now remains whether the budget will actually be able to combat the issue of food security faced by the country and stay true to its anticipations with respect to food security.