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250 mn tonnes: Govt looks at record foodgrain output

The previous record of wheat was 86.87 million tonnes in 2010-11 while rice saw the maximum output of 99.18 million tonnes in 2008-09.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 4, 2012 1:57:42 am

The second advance estimates of agricultural output released by the government on Friday projected another bumper harvest with foodgrain output pegged at a new record of 250.42 million tonnes during 2011-12 crop year as against the record 244.78 million tonnes the previous year.

While the increased rice output in eastern regions has helped the country achieve this,the output of both the major crops — wheat (88.31 million tonnes) and rice (102.75 million tonnes) — is all set for a new record this year. The previous record of wheat was 86.87 million tonnes in 2010-11 while rice saw the maximum output of 99.18 million tonnes in 2008-09.

“Extra 12-13 million tonnes of rice has come from the eastern belt alone and as a result the overall foodgrains output has touched a record 250.42 million tonnes. Bihar and Jharkhand,known as laggard states in agriculture production,have outperformed as their rice output has more than doubled to 6.75 million tonnes and 3.3 million tonnes respectively,” Agriculture Secretary P K Basu said after the estimates were released.

While the wheat and rice output has set a new record,the other two components of foodgrains — coarse cereals and pulses — have remained only marginally below record outputs registered last year.

The total pulses output is projected to be at 17.28 million tonnes as against the record 18.24 million tonnes last year. “The production is seen lower as there was area loss in Maharashtra and Rajasthan due to less rainfall. In Maharashtra,especially,there was shift to cotton crops,” Basu said,explaining the dip.

The coarse cereals output in 2011-12 crop year is pegged at 42.08 million tonnes,only marginally lower than last year’s 43.68 million tonnes.

The cash crops of cotton,jute and sugarcane are estimated to surpass the previous year’s output with cotton output setting new record at 34.09 million bales (of 170 kg each) as against the record of 33 million bales last year. The estimates projected 10.95 million bales (of 180 kg each) of jute output while sugarcane production is estimated at 347.86 million tonnes this crop year.

SC appoints nodal officer for PDS

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday nominated a secretary-level officer in the Centre to act as nodal officer to effectively monitor the implementation of government’s food programme for the poor. The direction came after the court took serious note of a report by the Justice DP Wadhwa committee report that computerisation of the entire Public Distribution System to stop pilferage and corruption has not made “substantial” progress. A bench led by Justice Dalveer Bhandari appointed Secretary,Ministry of Consumer Affairs,Food and Public Distribution,to co-ordinate with states and Union Territories for distribution of foodgrains under the targeted PDS.

The court said the report categorically said “no substantial work” on digitilisation and computerisation of PDS has taken place and fake ration cards are rampant.

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