The central government on January 24 approved a proposal to sell 30 lakh tonnes of wheat in the open market to control prices of wheat and wheat flour.
"Offloading of 30 LMT wheat in the market through OMSS (D) scheme within a span of two months through multiple channels will have wider reach as well as immediate impact on the soaring wheat and atta (wheat flour) prices and will help contain the rising prices and will bring much relief to the common man," the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution said in a statement.
Earlier today, the Group of Ministers headed by Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting to discuss the buffer stock position of the country.
Last week, food secretary Sanjeev Chopra said that prices of wheat and atta had increased in the retail market and the government was exploring all options to control the rates.
In order to have a quick impact on the rising prices, the following options to offload wheat to the market were approved by the Committee of Ministers (CoM):
-Wheat will be offered to the flour millers, bulk buyers etc through e-auction for a maximum quantity of 3,000 MT per buyer, per auction, from an FCI region under e-auction.
-Wheat will also be offered to state governments/UTs for their schemes without e-auction.
-Apart from the above channels, wheat will be offered at a concessional rate of Rs 2,350/ Qtl to government PSUs/cooperatives/Federations, Kendriya Bhandar/NCCF/NAFED etc without e-auction. The sale under this special scheme will be subject to the stipulation that the buyer will convert wheat to atta and offer it to the public at a Maximum Retail Price of Rs 29.50 per Kg.
According to government data, the average price of wheat across major cities stood at Rs 33.43 per kilogram on Wednesday, up from Rs 28.24 per kg a year ago. The average price of atta stood at Rs 37.95 per kg as against Rs 31.41 per kg a year ago.
Under the open market sale scheme (OMSS) policy, the government allows 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.
Flour millers have been demanding from the government to offload wheat stocks from the FCI.
The Centre had banned wheat exports in May to control prices, after a slight fall in domestic production and a sharp decline in the FCI's procurement for the central pool.
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 fell sharply to 19 million tonnes this year from around 43 million tonnes last year.
(With inputs from agencies)