The UPA government’s ambitious National Food Security Bill is slotted for passage in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament. The Bill envisages providing highly subsidised foodgrains to 67% of the country’s population. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is expected to play anchor in ensuring that sufficient foodgrain is available for the implementation of the mega food security scheme. C Vishwanath, chairman & managing director, FCI, spoke to Sandip Das on the challenges the corporation is likely to face.
What are the logistical arrangements FCI is making for the implementation of the food security legislation?
The annual requirement of foodgrains to meet the demand under the national food security law is estimated at 61.2 million tonne (mt). As on August 1, the available foodgrain stock in the central pool is 69.61 mt (40.38 mt wheat and 29.23 mt rice). The average procurement during the last 3 years has been 63.3 mt (29.6 mt of wheat and 33.7 mt rice). Hence, there is sufficient foodgrain to meet the requirements under the proposed law.
The storage capacity, as on July 30, stood at 74.6 mt for foodgrains from the central pool. This would be supplemented by about 20.3 mt with the creation of both conventional and silo capacities by private sector participation under the Private Entrepreneur Guarantee (PEG) scheme. We have already taken over facilities totalling a capacity of 7.3 mt, while the rest is expected to be ready in the next couple of years. Further, FCI will be adding capacity of 0.6 mt, especially in the difficult terrain of the north-eastern states, as is envisaged in the 12th Plan. We also have the option of hiring capacities from private or public sector players, based on actual demands.
Coming to transportation, the estimated increase is about 15%, which would be met in close coordination with the Railways. FCI is fully geared to meet the logistics requirements for the implementation of the proposed food security law.
Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chairman Ashok Gulati has stated that a chunk of foodgrains is wasted because of FCI’s inability to store scientifically…
The storage issues have already been addressed. The stocks are stored by FCI in a scientific manner. Wheat stocks are stored in cover and plinth (CAP), which is a proven and time-tested method.
Relative to the quantum of our operations, the portion of grains that is considered spoilt or damaged is minuscule. For example, the total volume of