Govt accepts 1 mln tn more rice from Chhattisgarh in central pool

Monday, Aug 3, 2020


By Sampad Nandy


NEW DELHI – The Centre has accepted around 1.0 mln tn more rice, procured by the government of Chhattisgarh, in the central pool in the ongoing marketing year, senior government officials said. 


This has taken the overall procurement by the Centre in Chhattisgarh to 4.7 mln tn, from over 3.8 mln tn about a month ago, an official said.  


"The government has already accepted over 900,000 tn rice in the central pool and will be taking some more on its books in the coming weeks," one of the officials said.  


The government of Chhattisgarh and the Centre were at loggerheads since the beginning of the kharif marketing season in October over the procurement of rice in the state. Usually, rice procurement is "open-ended" and the Centre buys rice at the minimum support price.


However, for Chhattisgarh, the Centre had imposed a limit to procure only 4.0 mln tn during 2019-20 (Oct-Sep), following the state's initial announcement to pay a bonus for paddy purchases, which was later reversed.


As per the food ministry's guidelines, the Centre does not usually accept surplus food grains over and above the requirement of the particular state under the food security plan, if states announce any kind of bonus or incentive over the minimum support price.


For 2019-20 (Jul-Jun), the government is procuring common-grade paddy at 1,815 rupees per 100 kg, and fine-grade paddy at 1,835 rupees. Chhattisgarh, initially, had announced a 685-rupee bonus on procurement of every 100 kg of paddy.


With this, the limit on procurement was officially increased to 4.0 mln tn.   


After the Centre's clarification, Chhattisgarh announced a new scheme under which it would procure paddy at the minimum support price, and pay the difference between minimum support price and the amount of 2,500 rupees per 100 kg promised by the state to farmers. 


As procurement in the state exceeded 4.0 mln tn, the Centre declined to accept anything over 3.8 mln tn rice in the central pool. Now, the excess quantity is close to 1 mln tn, taking the total procurement in the state to about 5 mln tn.


Cogencis had earlier reported that with rising in demand for foodgrains from states for distribution under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the Centre decided to accept more rice from the state. 


Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was initially launched in April for three months, to help mitigate the impact of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, and was later extended till November.


The plan provides 5 kg of wheat or rice and 1 kg of pulses every month to over 800 mln poor people for free. This is in addition to the 5 kg of subsidised rice or wheat that each beneficiary gets under the National Food Security Act.


Typically, Chhattisgarh accounts for about 10% of the entire rice procured by the central government. In the 2018-19 marketing year, the government had procured 3.97 mln tn of rice in the state, compared with 3.21 mln tn in 2017-18.


The increase in 2018-19 was because Chhattisgarh had announced a bonus of 750 rupees per 100 kg on paddy procurement. The bonus was announced in December, with retrospective effect.  End


Edited by Aditya Sakorkar


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