The Government of India on Thursday gave approval to the state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) to sell wheat and rice under the open market sale scheme (OMSS), a move aimed at stabilising prices of the these commodities.
"The decision will help in rationalising the procedure and pricing for the release of food grains under the OMSS. The release of wheat and rice will help in stabilising open market prices of food grains," a government spokesperson said after the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) meeting here.
The decision will enable the FCI to sell the surplus wheat to the flourmills either through auction or at suitable rates, reports IANS.
"The quantity to be released under OMSS, timing of intervention and the locations will be decided by the ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution," the spokesperson added.
The government-owned FCI procures wheat and rice to be distributed among the people living below and above the poverty line through the public distribution system (PDS) outlets.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar last month said the government might sell around six million tonnes of food grains in the open market in view of bumper wheat and rice crops.
The Minister said the government had 5.5 million tonnes of wheat as buffer stock against the norm of 4.5 million tonnes.
An official estimate says the FCI and other state-owned agencies have an estimated stock of over 26 million tonnes of rice.
The government has targeted production of 129 million tonnes of rice by 2011-12 at a growth rate of 3.7 per cent, along with other food grains.
India's food grain production was estimated at 230.67 million tonnes in 2007-08.
As per the fourth Advance Estimates of Crop Production for 2007-08, food production increased 13.39 million tonnes to 230.67 million tonnes, as compared to 217.28 million tonnes in 2006-07.
Production of rice stood at 96.43 million tonnes, wheat 78.40 million tonnes, coarse cereals 40.73 million tonnes, maize 19.31 million tonnes, pulses 15.11 million tonnes, and oilseeds 28.82 million tonnes.