Centre may procure 230 lt wheat this rabi season

Updated: Jan 26 2002, 05:30am hrs
Procurement of wheat for the central pool during the ensuing rabi marketing season is expected to be at 230 lakh tonne.

This was decided at a meeting of state food secretaries convened by the Union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution to streamline strategy for the rabi marketing season 2002-03.

The total wheat procurement in the last marketing season till December 10, 2001 was 206.2 lakh tonne. Total rice procurement in the on-going kharif marketing season is 39.77 lakh tonne and that of paddy is 133.28 lakh tonne. The rice stock in the central pool as on December 1, 2001, was 250.97 lakh tonne and that of wheat was 340.06 lakh tonne.

Food secretaries of Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, UP, MP, Gujarat and Delhi participated in the meeting besides senior officials from the Union agriculture ministry and Food Corporation of India (FCI). The Union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution has made all necessary arrangements for a smooth procurement operation during the ensuing rabi marketing season including finalisation of purchase centres, mandi distribution and arrangement of storage. Food secretaries of states were also advised to submit detailed proposals about undertaking decentralised procurement in their states.

Control rooms will be set up in the Union ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, FCI and also states for daily reporting of distress sales if any. Steps are being taken to expedite movement of stocks already stored in the procuring regions, particularly Punjab. The states were informed that wheat is procured under decentralised procurement scheme in UP, MP and rice is procured under decentralised procurement scheme in West Bengal.

Roller flour millers flay Centre

The Roller Flour Millers Federation of India (RFMFI) has criticised the government for maintaining dual prices for wheat from the central pool to be sold to exporters and millers. RFMFI president Ram Avatar Agarwal said that there was no rationale for pricing wheat for millers at Rs 4,750 per tonne while the same was being sold to the exporters at Rs 4,250 per tonne. He said that the targeted export destinations were same for millers and exporters. Exporters export wheat directly while the millers export after processing it into flour and other value added products. He said that in this process, the milling industry abroad is getting a direct subsidy of Rs 500 per tonne. As a result, the Indian milling industry finds uncompetitive to export wheat products with the basic cost price of Rs 4,750 per tonne and that too, on CIF basis whereas the wheat exporters enjoy the advantage on FoB basis. He said that it was surprising that on one hand the government wants that global markets be created for Indian wheat products and solve the problem of managing the plenty at home and on the other side, milling industry abroad is allowed to flourish at the cost of the domestic industry. Mr Agarwal finally said that it was high time that the government reconsiders its wheat pricing policy for millers.