Government of India will soon take measures to control the rising retails rates of wheat and wheat flour (atta), Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said. The Government of India is monitoring the prices of wheat and atta regularly, he said, adding that “all options are being explored” to bring down the prices.
“We are finding that there is an uptick in the prices of wheat and atta. We are aware of the issue. Various options are being explored by the government and very soon we will come up with our response,” Chopra told reporters when asked about rising prices of atta that has touched Rs 38 per kg and the steps being taken by the food ministry to check prices.
“We are keeping a close watch on prices,” he said, adding that the ministry would soon take some steps.
However, Chopra did not specified the measures being explored by the ministry.
The secretary said that the stocks of wheat and rice in the FCI godowns are comfortable.
The Centre had banned wheat exports in May to control prices, after a slight fall in the domestic production and a sharp decline in the FCI’s procurement for the central pool.
Asked whether the government will sell wheat in the open market, he said all options are being explored.
Last month, sources had said that the government is considering releasing 15-20 lakh tonnes of wheat next year from the FCI stock for bulk consumers like flour millers, under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to contain rising retail prices.
Under the OMSS policy, the government allows state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) to sell food grains, especially wheat and rice, at pre-determined prices in the open market from time to time to bulk consumers and private traders. The purpose is to boost the supply during the lean season and moderate the general open market prices.
Even the flour millers have demanded the government offload wheat stocks from the FCI godowns to meet the shortage in the open market.
India’s wheat production fell to 106.84 million tonnes in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) from 109.59 million tonnes in the previous year due to heat waves in a few growing states. The procurement also fell sharply to 19 million tonnes this year.
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The area under coverage for wheat crop in the current rabi (winter-sown) season is higher. The procurement of new wheat crop would commence from April 2023.