The Centre has decided to cut the reserve price of wheat by announcing to offer it at ₹23/kg and ₹23.50/kg uniformly all across the country, in a major decision to cool off wheat prices ahead of procurement season. This is without adding any transportation cost. Earlier, the freight cost from either Bhopal or Ludhiana to the depot was getting added to the price, making it up to ₹3/kg higher

“In order to reduce the price of wheat and atta, the Department of Food and public distribution in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, has decided that the reserve price for the sale of wheat under OMSS will be ₹2,350/quintal (pan India) for FAQ (fair average quality) and ₹2,300/quintal (pan India) for URS (under relaxed specification) of all crops including rabi marketing season 2023-24 without adding any transportation cost component,” an official statement said on Friday. This will help to supply wheat to general public in different parts of the country at a reasonable price, it said.

The reserve prices had been fixed at ₹2,300/quintal for the URS category and ₹2,350/quintal for FAQ, ex-Ludhiana and ex-Bhopal.

In addition, the States are allowed to purchase wheat from FCI for their own scheme at above reserve prices without participating in e-auction, it said.

Concessional rates for NCCF, NAFED

The Food Ministry also cut the rate of wheat to ₹21.50/kg from ₹23.50/kg for sale to NCCF/NAFED/Kendriya Bhandar/States as well as community kitchen /charitable/NGO engaged in relief operations/ running relief camps for migrant labourers/vulnerable groups.

This concessional rate for NCCF/NAFED/ Kendriya Bhandar/States will be applicable with the stipulation that they will convert wheat to atta and offer it to public at an MRP not exceeding ₹27.50/kg.

FCI has sold 9.26 lakh tonnes of wheat out of 25 lt to traders, flour mills in the first e-auction held on February 1-2, 2023.

“After the announcement of the OMSS Policy, the government has observed that the market prices of wheat are still very high. It has also been observed that due to the inclusion of freight charges in base prices for auction under OMSS, the auction rates in States, which are away from Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, are very high, especially in North-East, Eastern and Southern regions,” the Ministry said.

In a statement last week, the Food Ministry said the second sale of wheat through e-auction will be held throughout the country on February 15, 2023. Also, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) on Friday night directed all its zonal offices and depots to postpone the uploading of tender notification scheduled for February 3 to February 10, besides changing the the e-auction date.

The weighted average rate of ₹2,474/quintal was realised by FCI in the auction for which the agency would receive ₹2,290 crore, the Ministry said.