Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution Shudhanshu Pandey yesterday virtually addressed the media persons on the status of Wheat Procurement in Rabi Marketing Season 2021-22.
In his address,the Secretary said that the Government of India is committed to purchase the wheat at MSP and to ensure that payments are made directly into the accounts of the farmers.He further added that until now, 6,60,593 farmers from 11 states have benefited.
Shri Pandeyinformed that the Rabi season 2021-22 has already started in the States of MP and Rajasthan from 15th March 2021, in Haryana & Delhi w.e.f. 1st April 2021, in Punjab w.e.f. 10th April and in Bihar, it will commence from 20th April 2021.Shri Pandey informed that FCI and State agencies will be operating more than 19,000 centers across the country during ongoing RMS 2021-22.
He briefed the media that during the current RMS (2021-22), so far, Government has procured 64.7 LMT of wheat worth Rs. 12,800 Crore at MSP of Rs. 1,975 per quintal, against an estimated target of 427 LMT this year. In comparison, last year (2020), record procurement was at 389 LMT but on the same date i.e. till 14th April, it was just about 60 tonnes,whereas 12.81 LMT was procured during the corresponding period in the RMS 2019-20.
While answering questions, he said that from the current RMS 2021-22 season onwards, transfer of MSP will take place through DBT mode across India.Briefing about the wheat procurement in Punjab, he informed that 10.6 LMT has been procured as on 14thApril, 2021 against zero (0) LMT during 2020-21 and 0.15 LMT during the corresponding period of 2019-20. Procurement in Punjab is in full swing and on 14th April, 2021, there was arrival of 5.57 LMT wheat in Mandis which is likely to speed up in the coming days.further adding to this he said there is no stakeholder interest clash or encroachment in Punjab.Arhtiyas are receiving their commission separately through the e-mode ofpayment. Earlier, the MSP was going to farmers via Arhtiya and now it isbeing directly transferred to farmers online.
On the question of Centre’s agreeability on Delhi Govt’s doorstep deliveryof ration, he said it was clearly stated that the Govt. of India’s thinking is clear inthis regard. It follows the law and according to law, ration should not besupplied at any increased rate.
Further to a question about storage conditions of godowns, he said it is an incorrect perception that due to the poor condition ofgodowns, foodgrain stock gets ruined. In 2019 & 2020, damage was0.006% and 0.004% of the total storage. He said to improve the storage infrastructure in India & increase storage capacityby 100 LMT, we are launching a storage modernisation plan. By2024-25, we will store our stocks in modern silos & phase out conventionalgodowns (Silos established in Ahmedabad, pilot project on rice silos in Buxar).
On a question of proposals for maize procurement in Bihar, the Secretary said that the existing policy of Govt. of India is to ask for quotes from statesand accordingly MSP is announced. So, the State Govt’s can procure therequired quantity of maize according to their needs. Additionally, as a resultof Govt. of India permitting ethanol production, Bihar announced a policyon this which will increase demand for maize crop in the state.
Further to a question on price rise of oilseeds, he said price rise is taking place due to several international onfactors – damaged international oilseeds owing to which LatinAmerican countries saw less production of Soyabean etc. Also, El-Nino increasedpressure on domestic oilseed production. However, the farmers alsobenefited as prices of soybean, castor seed oil etc are above MSP. In thelong term, increased domestic production is the best way to rein inprices & Govt. of India is working towards this direction.