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Government's Comprehensive Strategy to Tackle Soaring Food Prices and Ensure Food Security

The Department of Food & Public Distribution vigilantly monitors essential commodity prices, ensuring affordability and recognizing their vital role in daily diets.

Shivam Dwivedi
Department of Food and Public Distribution is closely monitoring the stock position of Wheat. (Representative Photo Source: Pexels)
Department of Food and Public Distribution is closely monitoring the stock position of Wheat. (Representative Photo Source: Pexels)

The Government of India has mandated that traders, wholesalers, retailers, huge chain retailers, and processors/millers publish their stock levels of rice/paddy in all States and Union Territories to control overall food inflation and avoid fraudulent speculation. The entities must declare stock positions in categories such as Broken Rice, Non-Basmati White Rice, Parboiled Rice, Basmati Rice, and Paddy on the Department of Food and Public Distribution's portal every Friday (https://evegoils.nic.in/rice/login.html). The declaration must be made within 7 days of the order issue.

Retail Sale of 'Bharat Rice' Started

To counter inflationary trends, the government has initiated the retail sale of 'Bharat Rice' to general consumers. In the first phase, 5 LMT of rice has been allocated for retail sale under the 'Bharat Rice' brand through agencies such as NAFED, NCCF, and Kendriya Bhandar. The retail price for Bharat Rice is set at Rs. 29/kg, and it will be available in 5 Kg and 10 Kg bags through mobile vans, physical outlets, and soon on various retail chains, including e-commerce platforms.

Government's Efforts to Control Rice Prices

Despite a good crop in the Kharif season, retail prices of rice have surged by 14.51% over the past year. In response, the Government has taken several measures. The FCI has a substantial stock of good quality rice available, offered to traders/wholesalers under OMSS at a reserve price of Rs. 29/Kg. The reserve price was reduced from Rs. 3100/Qtl to Rs. 2900/Qtl, leading to increased sales. Till January 31, 2024, 1.66 LMT of rice has been sold under OMSS(D), the highest in any year.

Export Policies Amended

To further control domestic prices, the government has amended the export policy of Broken Rice to 'Prohibited' and imposed a 20% export duty on Non-Basmati Rice since September 2022. Additionally, the export policy of Non-Basmati White Rice was amended to 'Prohibited' from July 20, 2023. Basmati Rice exports are registered for values of USD 950 per MT and above. A 20% export duty on parboiled rice has been imposed until March 31, 2024, collectively curbing the increasing trend of rice prices.

Focus on Wheat Prices

The Department of Food and Public Distribution is closely monitoring the stock position of Wheat. The All-India average Domestic Wholesale & Retail prices of Wheat are on a decreasing trend over a month and year. The government has been offloading wheat in the market through weekly e-auctions since June 28, 2023, with 101.5 LMT allocated for offloading under OMSS(D). Till January 31, 2024, 75.26 LMT wheat has been sold, and the quantity offered in weekly auctions will be increased to 5 LMT.

Stability in Sugar Prices

Sugar Ex-Mill prices have decreased by 3.5-4%, and both Retail and Wholesale prices of Sugar are stable. Cane dues for the Sugar Season 2022-23 have been cleared more than 99.9%, and for the current season, 80% of cane dues have been cleared.

Measures to Control Edible Oil Prices

The government is actively monitoring domestic retail prices of edible oils. To ensure the full benefit of decreased international prices is passed on to consumers, the Basic Duty on Crude Palm Oil, Crude Soyabean Oil, and Crude Sunflower Oil was reduced to Nil, along with a reduction in Agri-cess.

The Basic Duty on Refined Soybean oil, Refined Sunflower Oil, and Refined Palm Oils has been reduced to 12.5%. Retail prices of Mustard Oil, Soyabean Oil, Sunflower Oil, and RBD Palmolien have seen a significant decrease, thanks to proactive government measures.

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