The government on Friday said wheat stocks in FCI godowns is expected to be 13.4 million tonnes at the start of next fiscal, 80 per cent more than the buffer requirement.
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said the central pool stock of wheat as on July 1, 2022 is well above the foodgrains stocking norms.
“As on July 1, 2022, Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies have 28.51 million tonnes of wheat stock under central pool against the stocking norm of 27.58 million tonnes,” he said.
In the current 2022-23 marketing year, Goyal said the procurement of wheat has been about 18.8 million tonnes.
“…it is expected that even after meeting out the requirement of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (up to September 2022) and Public Distribution System, the projected wheat stock as on April 1, 2023 would be 13.4 million tonnes against the stocking norm of 7.46 million tonnes,” the minister said.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY), 5 kg of foodgrains per person are distributed free of cost to about 800 million people covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). This is over and above regular distribution of subsidised NFSA foodgrains (i.e. 35 kg per Antyodaya Anna Yojana family per month and 5 kg per month for priority household beneficiary).
The scheme, first introduced in April 2020, has been extended till this September.
Goyal pointed out that wheat production estimate was revised lower due to early summer this year.
Also, there was a rise in global prices of wheat due to various geopolitical reasons, he added.
“The government is committed to providing for the food security requirements of India first and also support the neighbouring and other vulnerable developing countries which are adversely affected by the sudden changes in the global market for wheat and are unable to access adequate wheat supplies,” Goyal said.
Therefore, he said, the central government amended the export policy of wheat from free to prohibited.
“As per the available stock and further projections up to April 2023, the country has enough stock of foodgrains to cater to the requiremnet of PDS and other welfare scheme and to meet out any other eventuality,” Goyal asserted.
On May 13, the government suspended wheat export with immediate effect. It moved all varieties of wheat, including high-protein durum, from ‘free’ to the ‘prohibited’ category. The decision was aimed at controlling the rising prices of wheat in the domestic market.
India had exported a record 7 million tonnes of wheat during 2021-22 fiscal.
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