NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked states to lift one month’s additional foodgrain of 35.5 lakh tones, which will be provided to the nearly 81 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act. This will be provided free of cost over and above the monthly entitlement that these beneficiaries get.
The Centre on Wednesday also allowed states to directly purchase a fixed quota of wheat and rice from state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) depots without participating in an e-auction under the open market sale scheme (OMSS) to meet additional requirement of foodgrains amid COVID-19 outbreak.
According to an official statement, the FCI has allocated a fixed quota of 79,027 tonnes of wheat for eight states and 93,387 tonne of rice for six states for this purpose. The allocation has been made to meet any requirement over and above the NFSA and additional allocation under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
In normal cases, 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 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 food ministry said.
Meanwhile, official data show that rice will have the major share of the additional monthly allocation that has been made by the government. Out of the total 35.5 lakh tonnes, 32.21 lakh tones is rice and the rest is wheat.
Food ministry also said that the FCI has been able to meet the increasing demand of foodgrains by using the freight trains. It has moved 352 trains carrying 9.86 lakh tonne of food grains since the lockdown on March 24.