To fulfill the government's promise, FCI is providing wheat and rice directly, without going through the e-auction route.
The distribution of food grains to the poor and needy has caught pace with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) making a record single-day transportation. Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allowed the states and UTs to lift food grains from FCI on a three-month credit for distributing to the poor and needy amid the coronavirus scare. “Continuing with its efforts to ensure that enough food grain stocks are made available in every part of the country during the countrywide lockdown, FCI has moved 70 rakes carrying 1.93 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) continuously for two days on 3rd and 4th April,” said a statement by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
FCI has done an average movement of 1.41 lakh MT food grain per day, compared to the pre-lockdown daily average of about 0.8 lakh MT, it added. Amid lockdown and a severe fall in economic activities, FM Sitharaman had announced free of cost 5 kg rice or wheat, and 1 kg pulse under PM Garib Kalyan Package for the next three months. To fulfill this promise, the FCI is providing wheat and rice directly, without going through the e-auction route, at Open Market sale rates to ensure a continuous supply of food grains in the open market.
Meanwhile, nearly half of the food rakes went to Punjab, while others went to states such as Haryana, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, etc. Keeping a special focus on the North East, a quantity of 1.4 LMT food grains have been inducted into the North-Eastern states during the lockdown period. After the assessment of the requirements, wheat is given to the wheat flour manufacturers while rice is given to the state governments for further distribution.