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Procure entire paddy from Telangana, KCR to PM Modi

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to direct the Food Ministry to procure entire paddy from the state during the current Rabi season.

He also urged him to convene a meeting of agriculture experts and Chief Ministers to formulate a suitable national procurement policy.

KCR, as the Chief Minister is popularly known, wrote the letter to the Prime Minister at a time when a delegation of ministers and MPs from the state is camping in Delhi to meet Food Minister Piyush Goyal to demand that the Centre procure entire stocks of paddy from Telangana as it is doing in the case of Punjab.

He said the Centre should procure entire quantity of paddy after meeting the state's PDS requirements, as per the MoU entered with the state government.

While this has been the practice in the past, the Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs has been declining to procure paddy since the last two years, he said, adding that if the entire marketable surplus of paddy is not procured, it will have an adverse effect on the farming sector and on the overall economy and will adversely affect the goal of national food security.

KCR said there should be a national food grains procurement policy, which should be uniform throughout the country and cover all food grains. Further, such policy should have suitable statutory backing to ensure its implementation.

The Chief Minister wrote that there is no uniform national level food grains procurement policy. "For example, the government of India procures entire marketable surplus of paddy and wheat in some states like Punjab, Haryana but not in other states like Telangana. There should not be different policies of the union government for different states within the country," he said.

"Such inconsistent and uncertain policies of the government of India are causing a high degree of frustration and dissatisfaction among the farmers. Our country has witnessed the fury of our farmers in the last two years when the government of India enacted anti-farmer laws. Farmers were feeling helplessness and aggrieved. Bowing down to the farmer's agitation, the government of India had no option but to repeal those laws," KCR added.

He also reminded Modi that the overall implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) enacted by the Parliament in 2013 is the responsibility of the Centre. "State governments do not have wherewithal like storage capacity, interstate movement of food grains etc because of which the NFSA 2013 has put the onus on the GOI to procure and supply food grains throughout the country," he wrote.

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