A grain stockist with a role still relevant -Sudha Narayanan
In the middle of the pandemic, the FCI holds the key to warding off a looming crisis of hunger and starvation
For several years now, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has drawn attention for all the wrong reasons. Set up under the Food Corporations Act 1964, in its first decade, the FCI was at the forefront of India’s quest of self-sufficiency in rice and wheat following the Green Revolution, managing procurement and stocking grain that supported a vast Public Distribution System (PDS).
Over time, however, many began to see it as a behemoth that had long outlived its purpose. Its operations were regarded as expensive and inefficient, a perception that has come to be accepted as fact. Even in the 1970s and 1980s, poor storage conditions meant a lot of grain was lost to pests, mainly rats; diversion of grain was widespread, prompting a former chairman to declare that there was a problem with “human rats” as well. By the late 1990s, the FCI was often referred to as the “Food Corruption of India”, not entirely facetiously.
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The Hindu, 5 May, 2020, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-grain-stockist-with-a-role-still-relevant/article31504557.ece?fbclid=IwAR0pbPZ-281WGeAzpCroVlY32LK9ySJQjNwTWjM-GYTfXDmJmhnRdEIoj0M