The Centre said it may have to import rice-the first time in 20 years-to make up the shortfall in kharif crop even though it has surplus stock in godowns. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee made this statement amid reports of the opposition planning to put the government on the mat over rising food prices during Parliament’s winter session. He said that the government had started the rice season that began in October with surplus stocks. As there is a projection that there would be some shortfall in kharif crop, the government would have to go for imports but the exact quantum and at what point of time would be decided later. According to government estimates, kharif rice output is likely to fall nearly 18% to 69.45 million tonnes due to poor monsoon, leading to a shortfall of about 15 million tonnes in 2009-10. The southwest monsoon this year was 23% below normal, the worst in 37 years. On the other hand, food and civil supply minister Anil Deshmukh recently spoke on making basic amenities cheaper for the common man. He further spoke on the black marketing of good being faced by the state. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Dhiraj Mishra for NMTV News.
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