Govt ready to offload extra 2.5 million tons of FCI wheat under OMSS in January-March: Food Secretary

The government is ready to offload additional 2.5 million tonnes of FCI wheat to bulk consumers during January-March 2024, under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS), in order to boost domestic supply and check price rise, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said on Friday.

In May this year, the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the government’s nodal agency for procurement and distribution of grains, was given a mandate to sell wheat from the central pool to bulk consumers through an e-auction under OMSS throughout the fiscal except during procurement period in wheat growing states.

Briefing the media, the Food Secretary said so far 4.46 million tonnes has been offloaded by FCI to processors through weekly e-auctions.

“This has increased availability of wheat into the open market at affordable prices, benefitting general consumers across the country,” Chopra said.

Depending on the requirement, the Secretary said “additional 2.5 million tonnes can be offloaded under OMSS during January-March of 2024.” In a further step to increase supplies in the open market, it has been decided to increase the weekly quantity being offered through e-auction by FCI, from 3 lakh tonnes to 4 lakh tonnes with immediate effect. This will further enhance wheat availability in the open market, he added.

For sale of wheat flour under ‘Bharat Atta’ brand at a subsidised rate, the Secretary said the quantity has been increased from 2.5 lakh tonnes to 4 lakh tonnes till January-end of 2024, he added.

The FCI is issuing wheat to central co-operative organizations like NAFED, NCCF and Kendriya Bhandar for processing into atta and for sale under ‘Bharat Atta’ brand through their physical/mobile outlets, at an affordable price of Rs 27.50/kg, he said.

The allocations to NAFED, NCCF and Kendriya Bhandar are being reviewed periodically to ensure sufficient availability, he said.

Areas where prices are reigning higher have been identified, and the agencies are undertaking targeted sales in these areas, he added.

The Secretary said the government is maintaining a close watch over the stock position of wheat to control prices and ensure easy availability in the country.

Besides releasing FCI stock in the open market, other measures the government has taken to increase domestic availability and contain price rise include tightening stock limits on wheat traders and banning export since May 2022.

This article has been republished from The Moneycontrol.

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