Last Updated: December 28, 2022, 12:23 IST
The Union government intends to release 15-20 lakh tonnes of wheat from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) storage for large users like flour millers in 2023. The step is being taken to rein in soaring retail prices under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS). According to statistics by the consumer affairs ministry, the average retail price of wheat on December 27 was Rs 32.25 per kg, up from Rs 28.53 per kg in the same period last year.
At Rs 37.25 per kg, the price of wheat flour (atta) is still higher than it was at Rs 31.74 per kg one year ago. According to the OMSS policy, the state-run FCI is allowed to periodically sell foodgrains, especially wheat and rice, to wholesale clients and independent merchants on the open market at pre-set rates.
This is done to enhance supply during the slow season and decrease open market pricing generally. The objective, according to the authorities, is to boost supply during the lean season and lower overall open market prices. The objective is to release 15-20 lakh tonnes of wheat from the FCI for bulk customers under the OMSS, according to an official source. “The nodal Food Ministry has proposed an OMSS policy for 2023 for wheat,” the source said. The insider also said that wheat from the previous two seasons will be distributed from FCI holdings, but the price had not yet been set.
Another source claimed that since the government is confident in its supply of food grains, wheat might be released under the OMSS. Furthermore, given that overall acreage has been greater thus far, the outlook for the upcoming wheat harvest is positive.
To address the scarcity in the open market, which has driven both wholesale and retail prices of wheat and wheat flour, even the flour millers have urged that the government discharge wheat supplies from the FCI godowns. Around 180 lakh tonnes of wheat and 111 lakh tonnes of rice were accessible in the central pool as of December 15.
Due to heatwaves in a few producing regions, domestic wheat output fell to 106.84 million tonnes in the 2021–22 crop year (July–June), from 109.59 million tonnes the previous year. Beginning in April 2023, fresh wheat crop purchases would be made.
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