The government will soon sell 4 lakh tonnes of wheat and 5 lakh tonnes of rice from buffer stock to bulk buyers and dealers in the first round of auctions, despite the growing retail prices of commodities. These steps are a part of the Center’s comprehensive effort to reduce the rate of increase in the retail price of these two popular grains.
The government will take all possible measures to bring down retail prices, and this includes a reduction in the duty of wheat, PTI reported, citing an official.
To increase domestic supplies and manage prices, the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the government’s central agency for the purchase and distribution of foodgrains, will hold an online auction for wheat on June 28 and one for rice on July 5. Soon, the bids will be floated. Retail prices for rice and wheat are showing signs of inflation. We are required by the government to launch the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMMSS). The goal is to lower retail pricing, said Ashok K. Meena, chairman and managing director of FCI, in a statement to PTI.
On June 12, the government imposed stock limits on wheat with immediate effect till March 2024 in a bid to check hoarding and contain rising prices. It also decided to offload 15 lakh tonnes of wheat to bulk consumers and traders from the central pool under the OMSS. The Centre had decided to sell rice to bulk buyers under the OMSS but did not specify the total quantity.
A stock holding limit of 3,000 tonnes has been imposed on wheat traders/wholesalers; 10 tonnes on retailers, 10 tonnes for each outlet of big chain retailer and 3,000 tonnes at all their depots. In the case of processors, 75 per cent of annual installed capacity.
The maximum quantity that a buyer can bid for is limited to 100 tonnes in this e-auction. For small wheat processors and traders, the minimum quantity has been kept at 10 tonnes.
In order to prevent the hoarding of wheat, the government has determined that registration in the portal for the wheat stock monitoring system is necessary in order to participate in the auctions. Meena responded that it has not yet been decided how much rice will ultimately be sold through OMSS.
If the need arises, the government has excess supplies of 292 lakh tonnes of rice and 87 lakh tonnes of wheat that could be utilised for the OMSS. This amount of excess food grain remains after the need has been met.