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Facilitating food security: FCI moves record foodgrains during lockdown

FCI has moved a record 3.74 MMT of foodgrains from surplus states during the lockdown period at an average of 1.7 LMT per day
  • FCI has executed the largest foodgrain supply chain system for public distribution in the world

  • The total foodgrain stocks issued to cater to the needs of people covered under NFSA and other welfare schemes during 22 days of lockdown is 6.54 MMT

New Delhi: State-run FCI (Food Corporation of India) has moved a record 3.74 MMT (Million Metric Tonnes) of foodgrains using 1,335 train loads from surplus states during the lockdown period at an average of 1.7 LMT (Lakh Metric Tonnes) per day. In doing so, FCI has executed the largest foodgrain supply chain system for public distribution in the world during a countrywide lockdown. “The entire workforce of FCI has been engaged with this task over the last 22 days and has delivered results in every aspect of the operations. This is more than double its normal average movement of about 0.8 LMT per day. During the same period, a quantity of 3.34 MMT stocks was unloaded in the consuming states to cater to the needs of beneficiaries under the Targeted Public Distribution System (PDS),” said an official release on Thursday.

FCI hands enough foodgrains to every state for distribution to beneficiaries

Under the PMGKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana), which provides 5 Kg foodgrains free-of-cost to every beneficiary covered under NFSA for three months, a quantity of 2.56 MMT stocks have already been issued. Under regular allocation of food grains for National Food Security Act (NFSA) schemes and other welfare schemes, 3.98 MMT foodgrains have been issued by FCI during the lockdown period. Put together, the total foodgrain stocks issued to cater to the needs of people covered under NFSA and other welfare schemes of the government during 22 days of lockdown is 6.54 MMT at an average of 3.27 Lakh MT (LMT) per day. With this, enough stocks have been handed over to every state government in the country to provide adequate foodgrains to all beneficiaries covered under NFSA, FCI said.

How else is FCI facilitating food security?

To cater to the requirements of persons not covered under NFSA, state governments have been given the choice to lift food grains at the rate of Rs 21/Kg for wheat and Rs 22/Kg for rice against cards already issued by them over and above NFSA cards. In addition to this, states have been given the option to buy rice at Rs 22.50/Kg directly from FCI without participating in the auction process to meet any additional requirements. With an eye to keep the open market prices under check and to ensure adequate availability of wheat atta, state governments have been authorised to request wheat for flour mills directly from FCI at open market sale rates. This system is being operated through the District Magistrates in a decentralised manner. The above initiatives are over and above the regular open market sales scheme through which weekly auctions are conducted for the sale of wheat and rice. Already 3.74 Lakh MT wheat and 3.35 Lakh MT rice has been offloaded in the market through all the above schemes since March 24. Considering the monumental work being undertaken by NGOs and other welfare organisations in providing food to the poor and needy in these difficult times, the government has come up with a scheme to provide wheat at Rs 21/Kg and rice at Rs 22/Kg to them from any depot of FCI anywhere in the country without any upper limit on quantity. Already organisations have started utilising this scheme in states like Maharashtra and Karnataka. It is expected that this will provide a vital lifeline in maintaining a regular supply of foodgrains to NGOs and welfare organisations to run relief camps for vulnerable groups during the extended lockdown period.

The backdrop

FCI has ensured continuous supply of foodgrains across the country during these tough times by undertaking operations along with the Indian Railways and other Central government agencies like Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC), State Warehousing Corporations (SWC) and FCI employees and labour.