Covid-time demand helps whittle down FCI grain stocks -Harish Damodaran

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published Published on Oct 13, 2020   modified Modified on Oct 13, 2020

-The Indian Express

The gap between the current and year-ago stocks, too, has narrowed down from over 15 mt to 1.5 mt between June 1 and October 1.

Covid-19 may have unleashed all-round economic devastation, but has also turned into an opportunity for whittling down the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) massive grain mountain.

At 68.49 million tonnes (mt), the total wheat and rice stocks in the Central pool as on October 1 stood way below the record 97.27 mt at the start of June. The gap between the current and year-ago stocks, too, has narrowed down from over 15 mt to 1.5 mt between June 1 and October 1.

Much of this inventory drawdown is the result of the Narendra Modi government’s efforts at disposing of surplus foodgrains — including by distributing these free under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

As against an overall grain offtake of 65.91 mt from public godowns in 2018-19 and 62.19 mt in 2019-20, the Modi government has made an aggregate allocation of 94.72 mt for this fiscal. That includes 55.24 mt under the Targeted Public Distribution System (or TDPS, which entitles beneficiary families to a monthly per-person ration of 5 kg wheat or rice at Rs 2-3/kg) and 5.24 mt under the Mid Day Meals, Integrated Child Development Services and other regular welfare schemes.

But over and above these have been the 32.11 mt earmarked under PMGKAY, 0.8 mt for migrant labourers returning to their home states and 1.33 mt of additional Covid-related allocations. The 5 kg extra grain per month to 80 crore persons under PMGKAY (during April-November) and 8 crore returning migrant labourers (for May-June) are being given free of cost.

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The Indian Express, 13 October, 2020, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/covid-fci-grain-stock-6722714/


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