Haryana’s rice procurement, at 38.6 lakh tonnes (lt) as of November 10, has exceeded the 37 lt target set by the State.

But this is much more than the rice estimated to have been produced in the State this year. The Union Ministry for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has pegged the total rice output this year at 46.54 lt, including basmati. There is, however, a problem with this.

If basmati makes up 50 per cent of the State’s rice production, how has Haryana procured rice exceeding the target? Basmati is neither procured at the minimum support price (MSP) of ₹2,040/quintal nor do farmers sell it to the procurement agencies when they get upwards of ₹3,000 for the fragrant rice.

Major reasons

Experts and analysts point to three reasons for this anomaly. One, the data on rice production may not be correct. Two, it is alleged that rice from the public distribution system (PDS) is being resold to the agencies. The third reason is paddy from nearby districts of Uttar Pradesh find their way into Haryana.

They point at two developments to say the procurement exceeds production most likely due to paddy from Uttar Pradesh having entered Haryana. Last month, the Haryana government banned the entry of paddy into Karnal districts from other districts, primarily to prevent paddy from Uttar Pradesh, bought at  ₹1,600 a quintal by traders.

The second development was the State government launching raids on rice mills for issuing fake entry passes last week. Details on this are awaited. In addition, rice procurement in Uttar Pradesh has hardly touched 50,000 tonnes so far this year. Last year, it contributed 43.91 lakh tonnes to the Central pool.


On the other hand, as per a crop survey of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), basmati rice production (including 1-2 premium non-basmati varieties) in Haryana is likely to be 29.32 lt this year, though some exporters have said that it could be even more at 31.2 lt.

This, in a way, is a pointer to problems with the data. If this data is correct, then it leaves the Food Corporation of India to procure only 18.22 lt, the maximum. This, then, would have resulted in procurement being less than half of the actual volume that has been procured till now.

Analysts, however, rule out the diversion of rice from the PDS since States such as Haryana and Punjab, besides the national capital region, distribute more wheat. Any rice from the PDS has to come from Bihar or eastern Uttar Pradesh, which is not feasible economically. In addition, such huge movements could attract the attention of officials.

Procurement data

“It is not the first time it has happened, the procurement of rice used to be around 60 per cent of the State’s production or even lower until 2014-15 with the exception of one year. But suddenly, it jumped to 69 per cent in 2015-16 and around 90 per cent of output in 2019-20,” said an official monitoring the procurement data. “That too output also includes basmati rice,” he added.

Emails sent to Haryana Chief Minister’s Office did not solicit any response until this report was published. Queries addressed to his office too went unanswered.

Investigations in other States

In neighbouring Punjab, such anomalies have led to instances of official investigations. The State’s Vigilance Department is probing the issue of higher procurement than the production of both basmati and non-basmati together, which started in 2015-16.

Telangana is another State where the procurement was higher than production from 2019-20 onwards and there was a row between the Centre and State on the rice crop’s production estimate last year. Even the Food Ministry last year had sought the help of the Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre to find out the exact output.

Errors in data?

Data show that mandis in Haryana had received 38.5 lt of non-basmati rice (in terms of rice, not paddy) and 23 lt of basmati rice in 2021-22, whereas the FCI procurement in the State was 37 lt last year.

The official said, “As Haryana also received paddy from neighbouring States, the arrival data points to a small surplus whereas farmers also keep some quantity as seed and for their own consumption.”

He said, “The issue is bigger and there has to be a thorough investigation to know if there are data errors or rice is getting recycled, which was common before roll out of DBT, to pay farmers in their bank accounts.”

With inputs from Subramani Ra Mancombu, Chennai