Wheat’s the problem? No, asserts Govt

Wheat’s the problem? No, asserts Govt

Justifies export ban to check hoarding aborad

Apart from the food security of India, the Government is committed to ensuring food security of neighbours and vulnerable countries, say officials.

NEW DELHI, May 15 (The CONNECT) - The government has said that the decision to restrict wheat exports will control food prices, strengthen the food security of India and countries facing a deficit, and that India remains a reliable supplier All exports orders where the letter of credit has been issued would be fulfilled. Directing the wheat exports through government channels would not only ensure fulfilling the genuine needs of our neighbours and food-deficit countries but also control inflationary expectations.

Apart from the food security of India, the Government is committed to ensuring food security of neighbours and vulnerable countries, an official said.

He said that the control order serves three main purposes: “It maintains the food security for the country, it helps others who are in distress, and maintains India’s reliability as a supplier.”

The government’s order on exports gave a clear direction to the wheat market. “We do not want wheat to go in an unregulated manner in places where it might just get either hoarded or it may not serve the purpose of serving the food requirements of vulnerable nations. That’s why government to government window has been kept opened,” he said.

Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary Department of Food and Public Distribution pointed out that the country has adequate food stocks. The Centre has reallocated some quantities by changing ratios of wheat and rice, after consulting the States. For example, states getting wheat and rice in the ratio of 60:40 will get it in the ratio of 40:60. Similarly, the ratio of 75:25 is made 60:40. Where rice allocation was zero, they will continue to get wheat. For all small states-NE states and special category states, allocation has not been changed.

As a result of the reallocation, “With this, we have boosted the availability of wheat to about 110-111 LMT more. Adding it to 185 LMT, it become 296 LMT which is almost as last year’s,” he added.

Manoj Ahuja, Agriculture Secretary said heat waves had affected wheat crops especially in North-Western India this year, but the difference is in availability compared to last year is marginal.

“Last year the production figures of wheat were 109 LMT for the country. This year in February, we have come out with advanced estimates for this year’s production and we have estimated 111 LMT.  Our estimates show 105-106 LMT of wheat availability this year and we are quite same in terms of quantity and availability as last year,” he added.

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