The government is aiming for a 5% increase in total food production this year to 245 million tonnes, the ministry of Agriculture said.
Food grain production, mostly wheat and rice, had jumped 6.4% last year to 232 million tonnes from 218 million tonnes during the previous crop year.
The increase in food grain production will be timely as the government prepares to pump even more grains through its leaky ‘public distribution system’ in the coming years. A bill extending the right to subsidized or guaranteed grain supply to nearly 75% of the population has been suggested by the National Advisory Council, a non-governmental panel.
NAC suggestions are taken seriously by the government, as it is headed by Sonia Gandhi.
Currently, India distributes between 45 to 50 million tonnes of grains per year through its public distribution system. The number is expected to rise to 60 to 90 million tonnes — depending on the exact specifications — when the National Food Security bill is passed.
India produced around 94 million tonnes of rice last year and 81.5 million tonnes of wheat.
Pulses, which do not come under the ‘grain’ category, hit a new record last year with a production of 16.5 million tonnes.