The government on Friday said wheat stocks in FCI godowns are expected to be 134 lakh tonnes at the start of the next fiscal, 80 percent more than the buffer norm.
In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said the central pool stock of wheat as of July 1, 2022, is well above the foodgrains stocking norms.
''As of July 1, 2022, Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies have 285.10 lakh tonnes of wheat stock under central pool against the stocking norm of 275.80 lakh tonnes,'' he said.
In the current 2022-23 marketing year, Goyal said the procurement of wheat has been about 188 lakh tonnes.
''...it is expected that even after meeting the requirement of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (up to September 2022) and the Public Distribution System, the projected wheat stock as of April 1, 2023, would be 134 lakh tonnes against the stocking norm of 74.6 lakh tonnes,'' the minister said.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY), 5 kilograms free of cost foodgrains per person are distributed to around 80 crore people covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). This is over and above the regular distribution of subsidized NFSA foodgrains (i.e. 35 kg per Antyodaya Anna Yojana family per month and 5 kg per month for priority household beneficiaries).
The scheme, which was introduced first in April 2020, has been extended till September this year. Goyal pointed out that the wheat production estimate was revised to the lower side due to early summer this year.
Also, there was a rise in global prices of wheat due to various geopolitical reasons, he added.
''The government is committed to providing for the food security requirements of India first and also support the neighboring and other vulnerable developing countries which are adversely affected by the sudden changes in the global market for wheat and are unable to access adequate wheat supplies,'' Goyal said.
Therefore, he said, the central government amended the export policy of wheat from free to prohibited.
''As per the available stock and further projections up to April 2023, the country has enough stock of foodgrains to cater to the requirements of PDS and other welfare schemes and to meet out any other eventuality,'' Goyal asserted.
On May 13, the government suspended wheat export with immediate effect.
It moved the export of all varieties of wheat, including high-protein durum, from 'free' to the 'prohibited' category. The decision was aimed at controlling the rising prices of wheat in the domestic market.
India exported a record 7 million tonnes of wheat during 2021-22 fiscal.
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