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Business News/ News / India/  Govt says rising wheat, rice prices 'normal', assures enough inventory
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Govt says rising wheat, rice prices 'normal', assures enough inventory

Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on Monday said that price increase in wheat and rice is normal, and the government will intervene in market in case of abnormal rise

The government on Monday said that price rise in wheat and rice is normalPremium
The government on Monday said that price rise in wheat and rice is normal

Amid rising retail food inflation in the country, the government has made it clear that the price rise in wheat and rice has been "normal" and it will intervene in the market only when there will be an abnormal increase in the rates. 

In contrast to reports claiming the reduction in wheat stocks, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told the media that the government has surplus stocks of both wheat and rice in its go-downs which will make the government capable of market intervention.

He also said that last year’s wholesale price was depressed because the centre sold a huge amount of grains under its Open Market Sale Scheme(OMSS) to bulk consumers. Due to this, the rise in wheat prices this year is normal, he said.

"Therefore, it is not advisable to compare the current year's increase in wheat with last year's. It should be compared with prices that prevailed in 2020," Pandey explained.

Since 2020, there has been an 11.42 per cent increase in wholesale wheat prices at 2,757 per quintal and 12.01 per cent in retail wheat prices at 31.06 per kg as on 14 October 14 this year. It is worth noting that the government’s claim is in complete contrast with the recently released Food Corporation of India’s report in which it talked about the wheat inventories in India till 1 October 2022.

Price rise in wheat is not “astronomical", said Food Secretary

Normalising the price rise in wheat, Sudhanshu Pandey said that “ Price increase in wheat is not astronomical, it is in tune with the increase in the minimum support price, fuel and transportation and other expenses."

He also asked the people to not worry about inflation as the government has enough stock of both wheat and rice in its godowns. He informed that the government has procured higher amount than requirement this time for PDS and other schemes.

The government had a wheat stock of 227 lakh tonnes this year. It is higher than the buffer norm of 205 lakh tonnes till September end. Just like wheat stocks, the government has stored around 205 lakh tonnes of rice this year,, informed the Food Corporation of India (FCI) Chairman Ashok K K Meena in the presentation.

He also informed that the stock will not only remain sufficient in the coming months but will grow higher than normal buffer norms till 1 April, 2023. This will happen after meeting the free grain supply under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, National Food Security Act and other welfare requirements, claimed Ashok Meena.

He also assured that the government is closely monitoring the situation and is fully aware of the price scenario.

It is worth mentioning that the government had proactively controlled the price rise of wheat in May this year by imposing export regulations. He also said that the upcoming production of wheat will be normal.

Informing about paddy procurement, Ashok Meena said that around 58 lakh tonne paddy (39 lakh tonne in terms of rice) has been procured up to 16 October. The quantity is higher than a year-ago period.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 17 Oct 2022, 07:24 PM IST
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