In an inflationary age, empty granaries spell trouble. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has been unable to purchase what is required in the face of bumper crops. As a result, private participation has never been more relevant than now.
Yet, the standing parliamentary committee on food and the public distribution system thinks otherwise. In its 18th report, it says private player entry should be the last option and strictly in non-traditional and backward regions. This apart, there is an assortment of other recommendations that have a statist flavour.
At the moment, the focus of the government and FCI should be on stocking grains to ensure effective intervention in inflationary situations and ensuring food security. Controlling the economic costs of purchased grains is also an issue. If the private sector can help in this, it should be allowed to play. Rigid, ideological, stands should be eschewed.