The government will sell 30 lakh tonnes of wheat in the open market from its buffer stock to control rise in prices of wheat and wheat flour (atta), sources said.
The average prices of atta have risen to around Rs 38 per kg. The food ministry will offload 30 lakh tonnes of wheat under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS), they said. Wheat stocks will be sold to flour millers and traders among others.
On January 19, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra had said the retail prices of wheat and wheat flour (atta) have increased and the government will soon take measures to control the rising rates.
Under the OMSS policy, the government allows state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) to sell food grains, especially wheat and rice, at pre-determined prices in the open market from time to time to bulk consumers and private traders. The purpose is to boost the supply during the lean season and moderate the general open market prices.
Even the flour millers have demanded the government to offload wheat stocks from the FCI. “We are finding that there is an uptick in the prices of wheat and atta. We are aware of the issue. Various options are being explored by the government and very soon we will come up with our response,” Chopra had told reporters last week.
The secretary had said that the stocks of wheat and rice in the FCI godowns are comfortable.
The Centre had banned wheat exports in May to control prices after a slight fall in the domestic production and a sharp decline in the FCI’s procurement for the central pool. India’s wheat production fell to 106.84 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) from 109.59 million tonnes in the previous year due to heat waves in a few growing states. The procurement fell sharply to 19 million tonnes this year from around 43 million tonnes last year.
The area under coverage for wheat crop in the current rabi (winter-sown) season is slightly higher.
The procurement of new wheat crop would commence from April 2023.