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

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CIVIL LIBERTIES-Alarming Deterioration

in creating the impression that, despite last year's severe drought, it has managed to prevent a sharp rise in prices' The food and civil supplies minister, Sukh Ram, claimed in the Rajya Sabha on August 10 that the rise in the wholesale price index in 1987-88 had been only 10,6 per cent whereas in the drought year of 1979-80 it had been 21,4 per cent. Someone ought to have reminded the minister in this context that only a few days earlier his colleague, the minister of Mate for agriculture, had informed the Rajya Sabha that, according to the government's latest estimates, foodgrains production in 1987-88 is now put at 137 ran tonnes which is just 7 mn tonnes or just less than 5 per cent below the production in 1986-87. By contrast, in 1979-80 food- grains production had fallen by as much as 22.2 mn tonnes or by nearly 17 per cent over the previous year. The government cannot expect to have it both ways: it cannot take credit for its agricultural development programmes which supposedly minimised the impact of the drought on agricultural production and also claim that it had performed near-miracles on the price front as compared to earlier drought years.

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