News Archive
July 2024

Govt releases 3 MT rice, atta to curb prices, extends export duty

Food secy hopeful of resolving farmers’ concerns

During the last season (2023-24), FCI and associated agencies procured 26 MT of wheat through minimum support price (MSP) operations.(Image/Reuters)

To control the rising prices of cereals, the government on Thursday announced a plan to release 3 million tonne (MT) of rice and atta into the retail market as part of the ‘Bharat’ brand initiatives over the next 4-5 months. Additionally, the government has extended indefinitely the 20% export duty imposed on par-boiled rice last year.

Food secretary Sanjeev Chopra said that under the Bharat atta initiative, where the government sells flour at a subsidised rate of Rs 27.50/kg, prices have been effectively managed, whereas rice prices continue to remain high. “We will be selling around 1.5 MT each of atta and rice through retail outlets aimed at curbing spike in prices,” Chopra said in a briefing.

Through the recently launched Bharat rice programme earlier this month, the government is selling rice at a subsidised rate of Rs 29/kg via multiple retail outlets, including those operated by farmers’ cooperative Nafed and NCCF.

Retail rice prices rose by 13% compared to last year. In response, the government has banned the export of white rice and enforced a 20% export duty on par-boiled rice to enhance domestic supply levels.

Further, the government has initiated an aggressive campaign to sell wheat from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) stock through weekly e-auctions since June. As of Wednesday, the corporation has sold a record 8.94 MT to bulk buyers. At present, the government is also selling chana dal subsidised rates of Rs 60/kg under Bharat Dal initiative.

Wheat inflation declined to 2.33% in January from 4.69% in December year-on-year, attributed to enhanced supplies resulting from the FCI’s vigorous grain selling in the open market.

The government last year imposed a 20% export duty on par-boiled rice exports which has currently been extended indefinitely while earlier shipments of broken and wheat rice have been prohibited to boost domestic supplies.

Last year, the government imposed a 20% export duty on par-boiled rice, which has now been extended indefinitely. Further, previous exports of broken and wheat rice have been banned to bolster domestic supplies.

On Wednesday, the government extended duty-free imports of yellow peas by one month until April 30, 2024, aiming to cool the price increase of pulses. Yellow peas serve as a significant substitute for chana in the market.

On a query on whether the forthcoming wheat procurement would be impacted because of ongoing farmers’ agitation, Chopra said the government is hopeful of finding a resolution to the concerns of farmers before the start of wheat procurement season next month.

When asked about the potential impact of the ongoing farmers’ agitation on upcoming wheat procurement, Chopra expressed optimism that the government would address farmers’ concerns and resolve the situation before the commencement of the wheat procurement season next month.

Sources said that the government is likely to wind up FCI’s open market sale of wheat from FCI’s stock by the end of this month against the usual date of March 15. It has also called a meeting of state food secretaries to chalk out a strategy for the procurement of wheat for the next season (2024-25) on February 28. During the last season (2023-24), FCI and associated agencies procured 26 MT of wheat through minimum support price (MSP) operations.

Earlier, the Centre had urged major wheat-growing states such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan to begin farmer registration and establish procurement targets for MSP operations at an early stage. Usually, wheat procurement is carried out during April-June period.

Uttar Pradesh, the largest wheat producer in the country, is expected to initiate wheat procurement from March 1, while Madhya Pradesh, the second-largest contributor to the central pool wheat stock, is scheduled to begin MSP purchases from March 15. In Punjab and Haryana, wheat purchase operations by agencies are set to commence from April 1. QR Code

Published Date: February 23, 2024

More News