Centre cannot buy wheat beyond 67.25 lac tonne from MP: Paswan

Centre cannot buy wheat beyond 67.25 lac tonne from MP: Paswan

New Delhi, Jun 7: The Centre Friday refused to buy wheat beyond 67.25 lakh tonne from Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh at minimum support price for the central pool, saying the rules cannot be relaxed further for one state.
As per the existing norms, if a state announces bonus, the state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) cannot buy surplus wheat procured by the state in the central pool beyond 28 lakh tonne.
However, the Madhya Pradesh government has procured more than 80 lakh tonne of wheat, giving a bonus of Rs 160 per quintal over and above the MSP of Rs 1,840 per quintal in the ongoing 2019-20 marketing year (April-March).
The state’s wheat procurement is expected to cross 100 lakh tonne.
“As per the rule, we cannot buy more than 28 lakh tonne of surplus wheat from any state. However, a concession was given to Madhya Pradesh and asked the FCI to buy a quantity of 67.25 lakh tonne, which the state had achieved in 2017-18 by paying only MSP,” Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters after reviewing the functioning of FCI.
Already, a concession has been given to the state government. The rules cannot be relaxed further, he added.
Elaborating on the issue, a senior Food Ministry official said even when the BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh government had announced a bonus on rice, the Centre had procured 28 lakh tonne of the surplus grain with a condition to supply only boiled rice.
Sources said such a rule was put in place to restrict sale of wheat or rice from neighbouring states in a procuring state to avail the benefit of bonus and further put pressure on the central pool, which is saddled with foodgrain stock two times higher than its requirement of 411 lakh tonne at present.
FCI requires a stock of 610 lakh tonne to meet the requirement under the Public Distribution System (PDS) and other welfare schemes.