The Food Corporation of India, the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, has increased the prices of wheat being sold to bulk consumers by 10 per cent to Rs 1,285 a quintal, a top official said.
Last month, the Empowered Group of Ministers had approved the sale of 3 million tonnes of wheat to bulk users (such as flour millers and biscuit makers) under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).
Subsequently, FCI issued tenders for 13 lakh tonne wheat to be sold during July-September at a base price of Rs 1,170 a quintal.
“As prices in the open market are ruling higher than Rs 1,170 per quintal, we decided to hike the grain price under the scheme to Rs 1,285 per quintal,” the FCI Chairman and Managing Director, Mr Amar Singh, told PTI.
The order has been issued, he added.
“In last meeting, the EGoM had directed that wheat should be sold at Rs 1,170 per quintal during July-September period and at Rs 1,285 per quintal from October onwards. But the Food Ministry took a decision to implement the price of Rs 1,285 per quintal from now itself,” he added.
Asked about reports that tenders for wheat sale under OMSS has been discontinued, Mr Singh said: “The sale of wheat under the OMSS has not been suspended. Of 13 lakh tonnes, nearly 7 lakh tonnes wheat has been sold through two tenders so far and the rest will continue.”
He explained that fresh tenders have not been floated as FCI has sought clarity from the Food Ministry on allocation of quantity to those States, which have already exhausted their quota in the first two tenders.
The entire allocated quantity has already been exhausted in Punjab (0.1 million tonne), Andhra Pradesh (18,978 tonne), West Bengal (11,563 tonne), Chhattisgarh (10,823 tonne), Assam (10,186 tonne), Rajasthan (5,234 tonne) and Jharkhand (400 tonne), the FCI data showed.
The sale of wheat under OMSS has been slow in Karnataka, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which have been allocated with maximum quantity of wheat.
Wheat sale to bulk users under the OMSS has been allowed to clear surplus foodgrains stocks in the government godowns, which is overflowing with record 82 million tonne foodgrains against the storage capacity of 64 million tonne.
The Government’s stocks have risen sharply due to record production and procurement in the last few years.