Food offtake down 25.1% in Apr-Nov

New Delhi, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
The offtake of food from central pool had declined by 25.1% to 256.73 lakh tonne during April-November this fiscal from 342.73 lakh tonnes in the year ago period. Decline in exports, open market sales and offtake under welfare schemes have been cited as the major reasons for this decline by the Economic Survey.

The offtake of foodgrains from the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) increased from 154.55 lakh tonnes to 180.96 lakh tonnes in the same period. This implies an all-round improvement in the offtake of food grains under the below poverty line (BPL), above poverty line (APL) and Antyodaya categories. The APL category recorded an impressive increase in offtake from 24.03 lakh tonnes to 40.75 lak tonnes.

Fiscal 04-05 started with food stock levels of 20 million tonnes on Apirl 1, 2004 as against a much high level of 32.8 million tonnes in the same time previous year. The food grain stocks have remained higher than the buffer requirements for the country on account of good procurement of rice and wheat this fiscal. Wheat procurement during Rabi marketing season (April-March) 04-05 has been 16.8 million tonnes compared to 15.8 million tonnes in the previous season.

Procurement of rice by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been 14.34 million tonnes till January 14, 2005 as against 13.41 million tonnes for the corresponding period last year.

Addressing concerns of various states that procurement of food grains by the FCI was concentrated in states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh, FCI has strengthened its rice procurement from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

The survey shows a 73% decline in rice procurement from the above mentioned four states for 03-04. These states accounted for 80% of the rice procured by FCI in 01-02 to 02-03. Punjab and Haryana accounted for more than 80% of FCIs wheat procurement in the period 02-03 to 2004-05.