ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NEW DELHI- Food Surplus for Export

NEW DELHI Food Surplus for Export! B M THE brief spell of anxiety which was felt in government circles in July has given way to robust optimism with the turn for the better in weather conditions. The stopping of further purchases of foodgrains abroad and another look at the foodgrains production target for the Fifth Plan which has been proposed by the Food and Agriculture Ministry show how far and to what extent the behaviour of the monsoons influences the mood and the outlook of policy-makers. The Food and Agriculture Minister, Jagjivan Ram, was unusually cheerful, relaxed and confident when he met economic journalists for an informal discussion last week. He used the occasion to predict that India should emerge as an exporter of foodgrains at the close of the Fifth Plan period two years hence. He disclosed that the Planning Commission had been advised by him to review the food- grains production target for the Plan with a view to its upward revision. The original Plan target of 140 million tonnes is, of course, treated as not worth talking about. But the revised target of 124 million tonnes, which was thought to be realistic, is now proposed to be revised upwards, by exactly how much Jagjivan Ram did not say. But a target of 128 mil- tion tonnes is hinted at as quite feasible considering the achievement of 119 million tonnes during the current year.

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