India plans to barter surplus sugar for pulses from abroad

Ministries of External Affairs and Commerce working on proposal

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Congress leader Jairam Ramesh at a function in Chennai on Sunday. Agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan is at left.— Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with Congress leader Jairam Ramesh at a function in Chennai on Sunday. Agricultural scientist M. S. Swaminathan is at left.— Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Centre is planning to barter surplus sugar in the country for pulses that are being imported at high prices and the Ministries of External Affairs and Commerce and Industry are working together on the proposal, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday.

Speaking at an ‘International conference on science, technology and public policy to achieve zero hunger challenge’ organised by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, she said India was now importing pulses from neighbouring countries and even from countries as far as Canada.

Discussions

“The quantum of sugar annually getting accumulated in the last four years has been quite substantial. Through the Ministry of External Affairs, we are trying to talk to countries from which we import pulses — some African countries, Myanmar and other countries where there is a possibility [of a barter],” Ms. Sitharaman said.

Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu said the government was looking into a proposal on agriculture crop income insurance.

But, he said, it was not easy to implement as the resources required were huge and the Centre and the States need to join hands to make the scheme work.

“Climate change is no longer a matter of debate. While our contribution to global warming is not much, there is no other country which is more affected by climate change. It is something that we have to be proactive on and not reactive to,” Jairam Ramesh, MP and former Minister for Environment said.

PDS reforms mooted

Mr. Ramesh said there was a need for major reform of the public distribution system and the National Food Security Act to ensure that vulnerable groups got access to at least the minimum requirement of nutrition and health.

Source: The Hindu

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