At 76 mt, FCI stocks more than double of buffer stock

Written by Sandip Das | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 11 2012, 07:34am hrs
Though the grain stock with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has declined to 76 million tonne (mt) after reaching a peak of 82 mt in June, it is still more than double of the strategic reserve.

In fact, the current grain stock is 138% more than the buffer stock norms of 31.9 million tonne.

The FCI and other state agencies had more than 47.5 mt of wheat and 28.5 mt of rice at the beginning of this month. Under the buffer stock and strategic reserve norms, the FCI and the state agencies should have had grain stocks of 26.9 mt and 5 mt, respectively, on July 1.

After the FCI winded up wheat purchase operations for the current year at a record of around 39 mt last month, the wheat stocks have declined marginally as FCI allocates close to 2 mt of wheat every month to the states for distribution under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).

The high wheat procurement was mainly attributed to the record production of over 90 mt this year.

The unprecedented storage crunch has eased marginally during the last two months, yet stocks are in excess when compared with storage capacities, a food ministry official told FE.

The FCI and state-owned agencies have storage capacities of around 61 mt, including 18 mt of cover and plinth capacity that cant keep the grains intact for more than a few weeks.

Last month, food minister KV Thomas had directed an immediate evacuation of grain stored at temporary godowns as they could get destroyed easily. Even the Opposition has criticised the government for sitting on huge grain stocks.

Meanwhile, due to deficient monsoon rains in many states, the food ministry has decided against further exports of wheat apart from the 3 mt approved earlier. Non-basmati rice export also face no restrictions.

Largely, paddy regions have got adequate rains during the current monsoon, current stocks are enough to meet exigencies, an agriculture ministry official said.

The government had informed Parliament during the last session that other than providing tax and other concessions to create more storage capacity, exports are being encouraged. The rural development ministry is also working on a plan to provide grain to workers as part of their NREGA wages.