The central government has imposed stock limits on wheat for traders, wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers and processors in all states and Union Territories, a release from the food and consumer affairs department stated Friday.
This intervention, according to the ministry, was needed to manage the overall food security and to prevent hoarding and unscrupulous speculation.
The removal of licencing requirements, stock limits and movement restrictions on specified foodstuffs (amendment) order 2023 was issued on June 12, 2023 and is applicable until March 31, 2024.
Now, all wheat stocking entities are required to register on the wheat stock limit portal (https://evegoils.nic.in/wsp/login) and update the stock position every Friday.
The ministry said any entity that is found to have not registered on the portal or violates the stock limits will be subject to suitable punitive action under relevant sections of Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
In case the stocks held by the entities are higher than the above-prescribed limit, they shall have to bring the same to the prescribed stock limits within 30 days of the notification.
“Officials of central and state governments will be closely monitoring enforcement of these stock limits to ensure that no artificial scarcity of wheat is created in the country,” the ministry said.
Besides imposing a stock limit on staple grains, the central government has taken a series of steps under its open market sale scheme.
A quantity of 101.5 lakh tonne wheat at a subsidised price of Rs 2150 per quintal has been allocated for calibrated release into the domestic open market by the FCI through weekly e auctions, the department said.
“Additional 25 LMT can be offloaded under OMSS during Jan-Mar 2024, depending on requirement. So far, 44.65 LMT has been offloaded by FCI to processors through weekly e-auctions, and this has increased availability of wheat into the open market at affordable prices, benefitting general consumers across the country.”
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 LMT to 4 LMT with immediate effect.
Further, FCI is also issuing wheat to central co-operative organisations like NAFED, NCCF and Kendriya Bhandar for processing wheat into atta and for sale under ‘Bharat Atta’ brand through their physical/mobile outlets, at an affordable price of Rs 27.50 per kg.
“Areas where prices are reigning higher have been identified, and the agencies are undertaking targeted sales in these areas,” it added.
This article has been republished from The Times of India.