New Delhi: To ensure adequate wheat procurement for PDS and other social welfare measures, a group of ministers (GOM) led by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will review the situation on 13 March prior to the harvesting of the foodgrain for 2007-08 marketing season, to commence later this month.
With wheat production estimated to be lower by 1.5 million tonnes to 72.5 million tonnes for 2006-07, the Government has asked procurement agencies to coordinate arrangements to ensure adequate wheat purchases for maintaining buffer stocks.
The wheat output last year stood at 69.5 million tonnes.
The GOM is likely to discuss the ways of achieving wheat procurement of about 151 lakh tonnes for the 2007-08 season as against 91 lakh tonnes last year.
With inflation hovering around the 6% mark, efforts would have to be made to ensure adequate availability of wheat to keep its prices under control. According to sources, the GOM may recommend a bonus of between Rs25-50 on wheat MSP. This is to encourage wheat growers to sell enough stocks to government agencies.
Last month a high level meeting presided over by the Food and Public Distribution Secretary T Nand Kumar discussed ways and means to ensure smooth running of the procurement operations.