Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan has given detailed information about the various steps taken by the government and the total stocks of food grains and pulses available with the government and sent to the states till now.
The Minister said that as per the report dated 04.05.2020, FCI currently has 276.61 LMT rice and 353.49 LMT wheat. Hence a total of 630.10 LMT food grain stock is available. About 60 LMT food grains is required for a month under NFSA and other welfare schemes.
The Minister informed that since the lockdown, about 69.52 LMT food grains have been lifted and transported through 2483 rail rakes. Apart from the rail route, transportation was also done through roads and waterways. A total of 137.62 LMT has been transported. Total 5.92 LMT grains have been transported to the North-Eastern States.
During the lockdown, NGOs and social institutions running relief camps can purchase wheat and rice directly from FCI Depots at Open Market Sales Scheme (OMSS) rate. The State Governments can also purchase food grains directly from FCI. State Governments can also provide rice / wheat to non-NFSA families who have been issued ration cards by the State Governments, for the next three months. A letter regarding OMSS has been sent to the Chief Ministers of all the States/ Administrators of UTs with request to provide ration to the needy non-NFSA families. Under the OMSS, the rates of Rice is fixed at Rs.22/kg and Wheat- Rs.21/kg. FCI has sold 4.50 LMT wheat and 5.61 LMT rice through OMSS during the lockdown period.
Under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana”, for next 3 months a total of 104.4 LMT rice and 15.6 LMT wheat is required of which 59.50 LMT rice and 8.14 LMT wheat have been lifted by various States and UTs. Wheat has been allocated to 6 States/UTs, – Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Delhi and Gujarat and rice has been provided to the remaining States/UTs. The Government of India is bearing 100% financial burden of approximately Rs. 46,000 crores under this scheme.
As regards Pulses, the total requirement for the next three months is 5.82 LMT. So far, 220727 MT pulses have been dispatched while 147165 MT Pulses have reached the States/UTs and 47490 MT has been delivered. A total of 12.54 LMT pulses (Toor-5.16 LMT, Moong-1.26 LMT, Urad-2.55 LMT, Bengal Gram-2.72 LMT and Masur-0.84 LMT) is available in the buffer stock as on 05 May 2020.
Meanwhile, the Department of Consumer Affairs has notified face masks and sanitizers under the Essential Commodities Act in view of their increased demand due to COVID-19. Prices of masks, sanitizers and ingredients used in their manufacturing have also been capped. States have been given guidelines to ensure there is no obstruction in supply-chain management due to lockdown and check prices of all essential items. The Centre has delegated all powers to the State Governments to take decisions under the EC Act.