‘Free grain scheme to create pressure’

Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand says continuing the free grain programme under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana beyond December will put a huge burden on government finances and also fuel price pressures. In an interview to TOI, Chand says tightening money supply can impact overall growth, including the farm sector. Excerpts:


When do you expect food prices to ease, particularly cereals and vegetables?
They have already started easing. Despite unseasonal rains towards October-end, inflation in vegetable and cereal prices has fallen. Most of the food inflation in the country is attributable to the international price situation of food and fertiliser. As long as international prices remain high, Indian prices will remain under pressure. The government is keeping a close eye on international prices and prompt actions like changes in tariff and export/import easing/tightening are…

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