The procurement of wheat and rice (second crop) during the ongoing Rabi season has picked up pace despite severe logistical constraints posed due to the countrywide lockdown. Against the target of 400 Lakh Metric Tons (LMT) of wheat, procurement for the central pool has touched 216 LMT up to 6 May 2020. It is particularly heartening since procurement in major wheat procuring states like Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh had started only after 15 April. Similarly, paddy procurement is also going on smoothly with 44.9 LMT paddy procured so far by the government agencies.
Punjab leads wheat and Telangana leads in paddy procurement
Punjab is leading the wheat procurement with 104.28 LMT procurement followed by Haryana with 50.56 LMT and Madhya Pradesh with 48.64 LMT. Due to unseasonal rains, some of the wheat stocks in these states were affected. The Government of India has already come to the rescue of farmers by relaxing specifications for procurement which has greatly aided the procurement and saved farmers from any distress. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have also contributed to the Central Pool procurement and are picking up momentum.
Regarding paddy, maximum procurement has happened in Telangana where there has been a quantum jump in the production due to the commissioning of large irrigation projects. Out of the total paddy procurement of about 45 LMT, the contribution of Telangana alone is 30 LMT followed by Andhra Pradesh with about 10 LMT. This healthy pace of procurement amidst wide-ranging challenges posed by the lockdown is the outcome of extensive teamwork between Government of India and respective State governments.
Lifting of food grains by state governments under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) under which 5 Kg food grain is being distributed free of cost for three months to about 80 crore beneficiaries across the country has crossed 70 LMT, which is about 58% of the total allocation for three months. Every state has completed lifting of stocks against April 2020 quota and five Union Territories have completed lifting of entire three month’s quota. The Government of India is ensuring that the availability of food grains is not a cause of concern for anyone in the country by providing sufficient food grains to every State or UT.