As a part of inflation management, the Centre on Thursday lowered the wheat stock limit to 2000 tonnes with immediate effect. It also assured that enough stocks of rice and sugar were available to meet the festival demand.
Cereal inflation has been in double digits and affecting the kitchen budget.
Stock limit for wheat was fixed at 3,000 tonnes on June 12 and was applicable till March 31. “We found that the stock limit has been followed. At the same time, wheat prices saw an increase of 4 per cent in a month. Keeping all these in mind, stock limit has been lowered,” Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said. Further, those with more than 2,000 tonnes will get a month to offload the additional quantity.
There is no change for other categories such as processor, Chopra clarified. He said the total wheat stock is 255 lakh tonnes against the 202 lakh tonnes required under buffer norm as of October 1. He also mentioned that on April 1, 187 lakh tonnes of wheat over and above the buffer norm was available for any kind of intervention in the market. “We have already decided to offload 57 lakh tonnes and are ready for more aggressive intervention,” he said.
Talking about sugar, he said that to date, 85 lakh tonnes of sugar is available, sufficient to meet the demand for 3 ½ months. Adding to that, a government statement said that as the current Sugar Season (Oct-Sep) 2022-23 ends on September 30, India has already crossed sugar production of 330 lakh tonnes, excluding the diversion of about 43 lakh tonnes for ethanol production. Thus, total sucrose production in the country would be about 373 LMT, the second- highest in last five sugar seasons.
Commenting on the recent rise in rice prices, Chopra said that stock is around 230 tonnes. Prices are high for some specific quality. “There is not much demand for FCI quality rice, but higher demand for non basmati,” he said.
“We do not see prices of wheat, rice, sugar and edible oil to see sharp upswing during festive season,” Chopra assured.