In the Rabi marketing season, this time a record-breaking 43.30 million tonnes of wheat has been procured. Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir have set new records in wheat procurement. Wheat has been procured from a total of 50 lakh farmers, whereas last year wheat was procured from 43 lakh farmers.
This time, 100% payment of wheat of farmers of all the states of the country has been made directly in their bank accounts. Giving details of the government procurement of wheat, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said that in this Rabi season, direct payment of more than Rs 84 thousand crores has been made in the bank account of the farmers. Pandey was speaking in a virtual press conference on Monday.
Regarding the concern being raised about the maintenance of a huge stock of wheat, Pandey said that preparations have been made before the procurement season. The existing storage capacity of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was increased by up to 10 percent. Wheat-producing states have also made better efforts towards increasing the storage capacity. FCI Chairman and Managing Director Atish Chandra said that the government is fully alert regarding the storage of food grains. This time only 17.18 lakh tonnes of wheat had to be stored unscientifically covered outside.
Chandra said that since the beginning of the third and fourth phases of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, more and more food grains are going for distribution to the consumers, which has greatly facilitated storage. A total of 2.78 crore food grains have been allocated for this. The FCI claims that by the last week of July, the food grains kept outside will be transported to a safe place.
Food Secretary Pandey informed that from March 25, 2020, to March 31, 2021, and April 1, 2021, to June 30, 2021, a total of 94.5 million tonnes of food grains have been released. Where earlier every month 5 million tonnes of food grains were lifted from the central pool, it has increased to 77.40 lakh tonnes at present. Regarding the success of the 'One Nation-One Ration Card' scheme in PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, Pandey said that in June, about 1.5 crore transactions have taken place. So far, a total of 293 crore transactions have been done through portability. A food subsidy of Rs 20 thousand crores has been paid through this scheme.