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Food Imports And Exports

Volume 393: debated on Thursday 4 November 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for India the latest month covered by Table II in the October White Paper showing the net imports and exports of food grains during the fiscal years 1937–1943 and whether a return or approximate estimate can now be given for any later months?

The latest month covered by Table II in the White Paper is March, 1943. Figures of exports of foodgrains from India during subsequent months, up to the latest available date, are shown in Table III. Imports of foodgrains on private accounts during the three months April to June, 1943, were negligible.

In view of the rather startling fact that during the fiscal year 1942–43 exports of food grains exceeded imports by no less than 361,000 tons, can we be assured that the balance has now been redressed and that imports are exceeding exports?

Yes, certainly. These figures of imports do not include imports on Government account. Otherwise, the figures would look more closely balanced.


asked the Secretary of State for India whether exports of food other than grain from India are continuing to any considerable extent; and whether the sending of food parcels from India to individuals in this country has been, or will be, prohibited?

The recommendation of the Foodgrains Committee is that no exports of food should be permitted from India, unless such exports are fully compensated by imports. I have not yet seen the actual orders passed by the Government of India on this point, but they can be relied upon to safeguard food supplies required for Indian consumption. The information asked for in the last part of the Question is not available in this country; I have asked the Government of India to furnish it.

In view of the fact that the sending of individual food parcels, although they may be almost negligible in quantity, is likely to have a bad effect on Indian public opinion, could not a stop be put to food exports of that kind?

Is the Minister aware that the sending of individual parcels is having a very bad effect on people in this country, let alone the people in India? Will he not agree that it should be stopped right away?

I am not quite sure on that point. They do include exports mainly to Ceylon and the States on the Persian Gulf, where there has been a food shortage.