More rice instead of the crop to be provided
After a sharp drop in wheat procurement this session leading to drop in stocks, the government has reduced allocation of wheat provided to 13 states for the implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) during June 2022 till March 2023. Under the revised guidelines, allocation of rice has been increased under NFSA.
A communication by the food ministry on Friday has stated that revision in allocation of rice and wheat has been done for the ‘management of foodgrains stock as per the norms’.
Allocation of wheat under NFSA has been reduced for Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Kerala to only 85,320 tonne during June 2022 and March 2023 from the previous norm of 0.21 million tonne (MT). The allocation of rice under NFSA to these states has been increased to 2.04 MT from 1.9 MT.
The government’s wheat procurement in the current year may be less than half the level last year, as market prices remain above the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government. Purchases of the grain by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other government agencies at the MSP stood at close to 18 MT on Friday, down 49% from the year-ago level.
Earlier this month, the government had revised grain allocation under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) from May to September 2022.
As per the revised guideline, during the remaining five months of phase VI of PMGKAY, FCI has allocated 3.5 MT of wheat to states as per the earlier communication FCI was to supply 9 MT of grain.
Rice allocation during May-September this year has been revised to 16 MT against the earlier norm of 10.8 MT.
Launched in 2020 as part of the Covid-19 relief measure, under the PMGKAY scheme 5 kg of grains are provided free every month besides highly subsidised foodgrain to more than 81 beneficiaries under National Food Security Act.
“To mitigate scarcity like situation and to ensure availability of sufficient stocks as per stocking norms, it has been decided to revise allocation during May-September 2022,” according to the food ministry’s communication to states. This move to allocate more rice than wheat came after wheat stock held with FCI as of May 1 dropped to a five-year low of 31 MT on May 1.
Sources told FE that because of the low stocks, the government reduced wheat provided under the scheme with rice, whose stocks are ample. As of May 1, FCI has 33.15 MT of rice while another 20 MT is receivable from the millers. This is against a buffer norm of 13.58 MT at the beginning of April.