Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Government admitted in the Rajya Sabha on Friday that the procurement of wheat was considerably below the target but the production and stocks of rice were adequate.

"This year's wheat production has dropped. It is not as per our expectations. Against a target of 16 million tonnes (mt), we have done only 9.2 mt,'' Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said during question hour.

He also acknowledged a problem in meeting the demand in pulses even through imports. The country had failed to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of pulses for nearly a decade and was importing it from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma. But a production shortfall in some countries had affected imports and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) had been asked to import from other sources to ensure that the domestic demand is met.

Allocation of wheat

The food subsidy bill of around Rs. 23,000 crore was for subsidising supplies to the consumers and farmers did not benefit from this. Foodgrains allocation to States was based on the list of poorest of poor and below the poverty line (BPL) families prepared by the States themselves.

Some States where rice-eating is on a high scale were lifting 100 per cent of their wheat allocation but some portion of it was being diverted to the open market.

These States had their wheat allocation reduced.