07 April , New Delhi
Centre has asked Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh governments to test samples of wheat jointly with FCI immediately on its arrival so that relaxation in quality norms can be considered for procurement.
Quality norms for procurement of wheat during current Rabi season have already been relaxed in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Government relaxes norms for food grain procurement time to time in view of interest of farmers.
Procurement quality norms are decided every year on the recommendations of a committee of experts which include Food Secretaries of States. If quality of wheat is affected due to unseasonal rains or any other reason, relaxation in the norms is considered.
Meanwhile, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has urged the government to relax the specifications for procuring foodgrains, citing the unprecedented crisis being faced by farmers due to unseasonal rainfall and hailstorms in various parts of the country.
In a letter to Minister for Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan, the Congress President said, this extraordinary situation calls for a suspension of regulations, which are enforceable in ordinary conditions.
She said that there have been many precedents where the government had relaxed quality specifications for procurement in times of crisis. Ms Gandhi said, the UPA government continued that precedent and ensured exemptions for farmers during such grave occasions.
The Congress President said that she has personally visited the affected areas and witnessed first hand the acute distress that the farmers are facing. She said, these are difficult days for farmers and not being able to sell their produce defeats the very purpose of guaranteeing a minimum support price to farmers.