The next e-auction for the sale of FCI wheat to bulk consumers like flour millers under the open market sale scheme (OMSS) will be held on February 15, the Food Ministry said on Saturday. State-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been mandated to sell 25 lakh tonnes of wheat from its buffer stock to bulk consumers under the OMSS in order to contain rising prices of wheat and wheat products in the country.
The first sale of wheat through e-auction was held on February 1-2. About 9.2 lakh tonnes of wheat was sold from FCI depots in 23 states. The plan was to hold a weekly e-auction every Wednesday. However, in a statement, the Food Ministry said: “The second sale of wheat through e-auction will be held throughout the country on 15th February on Wednesday.” This means the FCI will not hold an e-auction of wheat next week and the ministry has not cited reasons for not holding the auction.
Meanwhile, the FCI has directed all winning bidders of the first e-auction to remit the cost and lift the stock immediately from concerned depots across the country and make the same available in respective markets in order to further contain the prices.”The prices are set to fall further after the wheat sold in the e-auction is lifted and atta is made available in the market,” it added.
Wheat is being offered at a reserve price of Rs 2,350 per quintal plus freight charges. Last month, the government announced plans to sell 30 lakh tonnes of wheat in the open market from its buffer stock under OMSS in order to check wheat and wheat flour prices. Out of 30 lakh tonnes, FCI will sell 25 lakh tonnes to bulk consumers like flour millers through e-auction and 2 lakh tonnes to states/Union Territories.
About 3 lakh tonnes of wheat will also be given to state PSUs, cooperatives and Federations like Kendriya Bhandar, NCCF and NAFED at a concessional rate of Rs 2,350 per quintal without e-auction for converting wheat into wheat flour and offer it to the public at a Maximum Retail Price of Rs 29.50 per kilogram.
Under the OMSS policy, the government allows FCI to sell foodgrains, especially wheat and rice, at predetermined 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.
The Centre had banned wheat exports in May last year to control rising prices, after a slight fall in 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 wheat crop in the current rabi (winter-sown) season is slightly higher.
The procurement of the new wheat crop would commence on March 1