According to the government, wheat stocks in FCI godowns are likely to reach 134 lakh tonnes at the start of the next fiscal year, which is 80 percent higher than the buffer requirement.
Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal stated in a written reply to Rajya Sabha that the central pool stock of wheat as of July 1, 2022, is substantially over the foodgrains stocking standards.
‘As of July 1, 2022, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies have 285.10 lakh tonnes of wheat stock under the central pool, compared to the stocking norm of 275.80 lakh tonnes,’ he stated. Goyal stated that wheat procurement was approximately 188 lakh tonnes in the current marketing year 2022-23.
‘Even after meeting the requirements of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (up to September 2022) and the Public Distribution System, it is expected that the projected wheat stock as of April 1, 2023, would be 134 lakh tonnes, compared to the stocking norm of 74.6 lakh tonnes,’ the minister stated.
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) distributes 5 kg of free foodgrains per person to about 80 crore persons covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA). This is in addition to the normal delivery of NFSA-subsidized 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 first implemented in April 2020, has been extended through September of this year 20222. Goyal noted that the wheat production projection was reduced downward due to the early summer this year. He also mentioned that global wheat prices had risen due to a variety of geopolitical factors.
‘The government is committed to meeting India’s food security needs first and foremost, while also assisting neighboring and other vulnerable developing countries that have been adversely affected by sudden changes in the global wheat market and are unable to access adequate wheat supplies,’ Goyal said.
As a result, he claimed, the central government changed the wheat export policy from free to forbidden. ‘According to available stock and additional forecasts up to April 2023, the government has enough foodgrains stock to meet the requirements of PDS and other welfare schemes, as well as to meet any other eventuality,’ Goyal stated.
The government stopped wheat exports with immediate effect on May 13. It changed the status of all wheat types, including high-protein durum, from ‘free’ to ‘prohibited.’ The move was made to help manage growing wheat prices in the domestic market. During the fiscal year 2021-22, Exports reached a record 7 million tonnes of wheat.