A panel appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recommended that India should speed up its overstock of Wheat and Rice stored in the government Silos in order to cut the wastage and to get right and good amount for its grain.
Despite of availability of stock double than government’s estimation India exports only 10% of its Wheat and rice output of 195 million tonnes.
Food Corporation of India (FCI) set 60 years ago by Indian government after India was in acute food shortage which forced India to Import grains are now on the mound of rice and wheat thanks to bumper harvests since 2007.
Shanta Kumar, chief of the panel, said after unveiling the report on Thursday that “Because of the Bureaucracy they are unable to get or take decision at the time and hence failed to get best prices out of attractive prices abroad”.
Panel wanted FCI to bring its attention to key states for grain purchases, abolish regional offices, and bring technical and managerial expertise from private sector to make the export technical and fast.
Ashok Gulati, a noted economist and a member of the panel said that if FCI speed up its work process then it would help the country to bring valuable foreign money in the country and will save a lot of money which has been blocked by the overstocked grains in the godowns.
Modi who formed this panel in August to have an eye on the India’s theft-prone food distribution network, has asked Food Ministry to first examine the recommendation by panel before acting on it.
India who is the largest producer of Wheat and Rice after China runs a big Food Welfare Programme worth of $18.64 billion. But Unfortunately half of the cheap rice and wheat meant for poor either get wasted or is stolen.
The panel also advised the government to scale down its food welfare programme by covering only 48% of the population instead of 67% but this has a positive impact on per person grain allocation of 7 Kg instead of 5 Kg.
If the number of beneficiaries are lower down then it will save around 330 billion rupees ($5.35 billion) of India’s but at the same time vote bank would become anger who are enjoying cheap grains and also it requires approval of India’s partisan parliament, said former food minister.
But to reduce the number of beneficiaries is not an easy task said B.C. Barah, a New Delhi-based agriculture economist.