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Centre cuts wheat quota under PMGKAY, adds rice to fill gap

India News

With a record low wheat procurement expected this Rabi season, the Centre on Wednesday reduced the wheat allocation to some states and UTs under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) till September. However, the reduced wheat quota will be replenished with rice to keep the overall figure intact.

As per the revised allocation, three states — Bihar, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh — will not receive any wheat for free distribution under the PMGKAY.

Besides, the wheat quota of eight other states — Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and West Bengal — has been reduced. There is no change in the wheat allocation for the remaining 25 states and UTs.

In a communication to states, the Union Food Ministry said, “It has been decided to revise the PMKGAY allocation of rice and wheat for all the 36 states/UTs for the remaining five months — from May to September.”

Addressing a press conference, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said, “An additional allocation of about 55-lakh metric tonnes of rice will be made and the same quantity of wheat will be saved.”

Pandey also said the revision is for the PMGKAY only, however, discussions are on with the states on allocation under the National Food Security Act-2013. “If some states want to take more rice under the NFSA, we will consider their request,” he said.

After the revision, the total per month wheat allocation under PMGKAY will come down to 7.12-LMT from 18.21 LMT. Similarly, the per month rice allocation will go up from 21.64 LMT to 32.73 LMT. The combined wheat and rice allocation to the states, however, will remain the same at 39.86 LMT.

The Ministry estimates a wheat procurement of 195 LMT, which is significantly lower than the initial target of 444 LMT, and the last year’s actual procurement of 433 LMT.

The data shared by the Food Ministry shows that at the beginning of financial year 2022-23, the wheat stock stood at 190LMT and the fresh estimated procurement of 195 LMT will take the total stock to 385 LMT. After distribution under different welfare schemes, about 80 LMT wheat will be there in stock at the end of the financial year, which is more than the minimum stocking norm of 75LMT.

Pandey said the wheat production is estimated to remain at 1,050 LMT during this year, lower than the earlier estimate of 1,113 LMT.

For the lower wheat procurement, the Ministry said more farmers in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, are selling the produce to traders/exporters at a price higher than the MSP. “In Punjab, Haryana, UP production is low due to early summer and shrivelled grain,” it said.

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