Foodgrain stock will last till next March
- The stock of foodgrains available with the Food Corporation of India is “comfortable” to manage the situation till March next year, but it would be an exaggeration to hold that the stock is “far in excess” of the buffer stock requirement, which should include additional allocation.
- The buffer stock norms were fixed based on the requirement of wheat or rice at 5 kg a person for 80 crore beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), which was in line with the requirements of the law.
- The norms have been determined, considering normal situations and they essentially provide for any production shortfalls.
- However, a pandemic, is a different situation and it may demand a revision of the existing norms in view of the additional allocation of foodgrains at 5 kg a person, as being done under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for three months (April to June this year in the light of the COVID-19).
- The total stock is 564 lakh tonnes, of which rice accounts for 284 lakh tonnes and wheat, 280 lakh tonnes.
- In the remaining period of April, May and June, it is expected that there will be an outflow of 200 lakh tonnes for the regular NFSA scheme, 5 kg free for each NFSA beneficiaries given under PMGKAY and the new schemes introduced for non-NFSA cardholders and NGOs.
- As per the norms fixed in 2015, the buffer stock, as maintained on April 1, was around 210 lakh tonnes, a figure which would change on the first day of July, October and January.
- As the Kharif procurement season for rice is approaching an end and wheat procurement has just started, the stock position at the warehouses will naturally be high on July 1.
- Wheat being once a year crop, it has to be stocked from July for almost a year to meet the year-long demand by the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) till the arrival of the next crop.
Similarly, we should wait at least for six months to start receiving the inflow of Kharif rice. Given our country’s pattern, we have to procure wheat in about three months for the entire year and rice over six to eight months.