Food Minister K V Thomas is expected to announce on Thursday steps such as sale of surplus wheat and rice through rations shops and open market to tackle any food price rise in the wake of drought-like situation in some parts of the country.

The Food Ministry is also considering relaunching sale of imported pulses and cooking oils through public distribution system (PDS) with increased subsidy.

Mr Thomas is expected to unveil the measures on Thursday following direction from the Prime Minister Office, sources said.

The Minister is likely to announce various initiatives planned by the government to ensure sufficient supply of foodgrains and other essential commodities.

Prices of food items such as sugar, pulses, cooking oils and vegetables have risen during the past few weeks amid concern over deficient monsoon and its likely adverse impact on Kharif crop production.

Overall, monsoon rain is deficient by 22 per cent so far with Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan being the worst affected states.

In crops, the sowing of coarse cereals has been impacted most, while the government expects to make up for shortfall in paddy areas.

Sources said PMO has asked the Food Ministry to use surplus foodgrains available in its godowns to tackle the problem of possible price rise.

It has advised supply of additional wheat and rice in states which consume coarse cereals like maize, jowar, bajra and ragi.

The ministry is contemplating allocating additional foodgrains to states, depending on their offtake, at a price slighty higher than the PDS rates, they said.

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