Wednesday, July 11, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

30 pc cut in PDS wheat, rice prices
Consumers above poverty line to benefit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Wheat and rice will become cheaper by 30 per cent for above poverty line (APL) consumers buying foodgrains from the ration shops.

Foodgrain prices for below poverty line consumers has not been touched as they are getting wheat and rice at 60 per cent less than the economic cost in the ration shops. In the case of APL consumers they were getting foodgrains at 30 per cent more than the economic cost in the public distribution system.

The decision, effective from today, has been taken to reduce the mounting foodgrain stocks, which are expected to cross 80 million tonnes this fiscal year, on Union Minister and Cabinet spokesperson, Mr Pramod Mahajan, announced here.

Mr Mahajan said it had also been decided to allow Food Corporation of India to offer upto 20 lakh tonnes of wheat this year to roller flour mills for export of wheat products.

The minister clarified that: “This is a one time measure and the Government may revise the decision before March 2002 or till stocks last”.

Lower prices in the ration shops was necessitated by the fact that market prices of wheat and rice were ruling lower than the APL prices.

Wheat would now be available in the ration shops at Rs 6.10 per kg, down from the existing Rs 8.30 per kg, while rice would be cheaper by Rs 3 per kg at Rs 8.30 per kg.

Though the rates for BPL consumers has not been changed, they would now be entitled to get 25 kg of foodgrains every month against the existing ceiling of 20 kg a month.

Foodgrain stocks with the government as on June 1 were estimated at around 60.4 million tonnes, which was expected to rise to more than 80 million tonnes towards the end of the current fiscal. Wheat stocks were estimated at 37.5 million tonnes and that of rice at 22.8 million tonnes.

Another decision to reduce stocks was to permit the FCI to offer wheat from the central pool to roller flour mills for export. The export of wheat products is in the negative list but there is a good demand for wheat products in the Middle East, he said.

The base price of wheat for exports would be fixed by the high-level committee of the FCI. Two million tonnes of wheat has been earmarked for exports during the current financial year.

Mr Mahajan said the wheat would be made available to flour mills on the condition that wheat products exported by them would not be less than 65 per cent of the quantity lifted by them from the central pool. The rest of the processed products could be sold in the domestic market.

It was also decided that a mechanism would be devised by the Food Department to ensure that wheat made available by the FCI for exports was not diverted to the domestic market.Back

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