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Govt's Strategic Initiatives: Boosting Wheat & Rice Availability, Price Stability, and Ensuring Food Security

The Government of India remains firm in its commitment to ensuring food security, stabilizing prices, and supporting both consumers and stakeholders through strategic interventions.

Shivam Dwivedi
Govt's Strategic Initiatives: Boosting Wheat & Rice Availability, Price Stability, and Ensuring Food Security (Photo Source: Pexels)
Govt's Strategic Initiatives: Boosting Wheat & Rice Availability, Price Stability, and Ensuring Food Security (Photo Source: Pexels)

The Indian government has been actively involved in weekly e-auctions since June 28, 2023, to regulate the prices of rice and wheat and boost their availability on the open market. This initiative falls under the Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) [OMSS(D)], with a substantial allocation of 101.5 LMT wheat and 25 LMT rice by the government. Under OMSS(D), the government has earmarked a reserve price of Rs. 2150/Qtl for FAQ wheat and Rs. 2125/Qtl for URS wheat. The reserve price for rice is set at Rs. 2900/Qtl.

Wheat E-Auctions

The inaugural e-auction on June 28, 2023, saw the sale of 0.86 LMT wheat in the open market. Responding to the market demand, the government has progressively increased the weekly offering of wheat in the e-auction, moving from an initial 2 LMT to the current 4.5 LMT. As a result, weekly wheat sales have exceeded 4 LMT, totalling 71.01 LMT wheat sold under OMSS(D) until January 24, 2024.

Rice Price Adjustment

The first e-auction for rice under OMSS(D) in 2023-24 took place on July 5, 2023. To boost rice sales, the Government of India strategically reduced the reserve price from Rs. 3100/Qtl to Rs. 2900/Qtl. Additionally, the minimum and maximum quantities of rice allowed per transaction were revised to 1 MT and 2000 MT, respectively.

Advertising Outreach

The Food Corporation of India (FCI) regional offices played a crucial role in promoting the sale of rice through regular advertisements. This proactive approach resulted in a notable increase in rice sales, reaching 1.62 LMT by January 24, 2024, marking the highest annual sale under OMSS(D) for rice to private traders, surpassing the previous record of 42000 MT.

Month-wise sale of wheat under OMSS (D) (Photo Courtesy: PIB)
Month-wise sale of wheat under OMSS (D) (Photo Courtesy: PIB)

Bharat Atta Scheme

Complementing these efforts, the Central Government is channelling wheat to cooperative agencies like NAFED/NCCF/Kendriya Bhandar/MSCMFL under the Bharat Atta scheme. Of the total 101.5 LMT under OMSS(D), 4 LMT has been allocated to this subset.

Semi-government/Cooperative agencies receive wheat at a subsidized rate of Rs. 17.15/kg (revised from Rs. 21.50/kg as of December 16, 2023) for the purpose of converting it into atta and selling it to the general public at a capped rate of Rs. 27.50/kg. As of January 29, 2024, these agencies have procured 2,80,456 MT wheat.

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