States Can Now Buy Grains Directly From Food Corporation Depots Without Bidding
A worker checks the quality of wheat outside a trader’s store at a grain market in India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

States Can Now Buy Grains Directly From Food Corporation Depots Without Bidding

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To meet the additional requirement of foodgrains amid Covid-19 outbreak, the government on Wednesday allowed states to directly purchase a fixed quota of wheat and rice from state-run Food Corporation of India depots without participating in an e-auction under the open market sale scheme.

As of now, the FCI has allocated a fixed quota of 79,027 tonne of wheat for eight states and 93,387 tonne of rice for six states for this purpose, an official statement said.

The allocation has been made to meet any requirement over and above the National Food Security Act and additional allocation under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, it said. Normally, the FCI sells wheat to empanelled bulk consumers and state governments through e-auctions under OMSS to ease the supply constraints in the market.

"In view of the outbreak of Covid-19, apart from regular e-auction, district magistrate/collectors have been authorised to lift directly from the FCI depots at OMSS reserve price to cater to the needs of roller flour mills and other wheat product manufacturers," the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said.

About 79,027 wheat has been allotted to eight states. Of which, 35,675 tonne for Uttar Pradesh, 22,870 tonne Bihar, 11,500 tonnes Himachal Pradesh, 4,190 tonne Haryana, 2,975 tonne Punjab, 1,000 tonnes for Goa, 375 tonne for Uttarakhand and 342 tonne for Rajasthan, it said.

Considering the emergent situation, the government said, states have been allowed to take rice under the OMSS at Rs 22.50 per kg without participating in an e-auction. So far, 93,387 tonne have been allocated for six states, of which Rs 50,000 tonne to Telangana, 16,160 tonne to Assam, 11,727 tonne to Meghalaya, 10,000 tonne to Manipur, 4,500 tonne to Goa and 1,000 tonne to Arunachal Pradesh.

Otherwise, through e-auction under the OMSS, FCI has received bids for 1.44 lakh tonne of wheat and 77,000 tonne of rice till March 31. "Even in this challenging operational environment, FCI is able to meet the increasing demand of foodgrains by gearing up the pace of supply of wheat and rice throughout the country, mostly by rail," the government said.

FCI has moved 352 rakes carrying 9.86 lakh tonne of food grains since the lockdown on March 24. Total of 53 rakes carrying 1.48 lakh tonne were loaded on Wednesday, it said. Till March 31, the FCI had 56.76 million tonne of foodgrains, out of which rice was 30.7 million tonne and wheat 26.06 million tonne.

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