As inflation is soaring high in the country, the Union Government on Wednesday declared that it has decided to sell additional 50 lakh tonnes of wheat and 25 lakh tonnes of rice from the central pool in the open market in order to check the price rise.
Speaking to reporters, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra acknowledged that there has been a steep increase in prices of wheat and rice recently. “The government has decided to offload 50 lakh tonnes of wheat and 25 lakh tonnes of rice under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS),” he added.
About 7 lakh tonnes of wheat sold through e-auction
This is in addition to the OMSS sales of 15 lakh tonnes of wheat and 5 lakh tonnes of rice announced a few months ago, Chopra stated. The Food Secretary further said that about 7 lakh tonnes of wheat have been sold through e-auction under the OMSS so far, while the rice sale has been negligible.
Govt considers slashing import duty
Earlier on August 4, Chopra said wheat prices have risen, and the government is exploring all alternatives, including lowering import duties, to stem the surge. In the case of rice, he said India has so far received a request from Bhutan for 80,000 tonnes of rice supply on a government-to-government basis.
Last year, the government banned wheat exports to boost domestic availability and rising prices in the retail markets. It has been offloading wheat stocks to flour millers and other traders in the open market to control the prices of wheat and flour. “Wheat prices have risen since the last auction. The government is considering all available options and will take an appropriate decision,” Chopra remarked.
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It should be mentioned here that the country’s wheat production had fallen to 107.74 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) from 109.59 million tonnes in the previous year due to heat waves in a few growing states. Consequently, the government’s procurement fell sharply to 19 million tonnes this year from around 43 million tonnes last year. However, in 2022-23, wheat production is estimated to rise to 112.74 million tonnes on higher acreage and better yield.
(With inputs from PTI)
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