The procurement of wheat is progressing at a swift pace in all major procuring states of the country. A quantity of 88.61 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) wheat has already been procured for the central pool till 26 April 2020. Out of this, major contribution has been from Punjab with 48.27 LMT followed by Haryana with 19.07 LMT.
Going by the present pace of procurement, the target of 400 LMT kept for the season is likely to be achieved. Considering the looming threat of the spread of COVID-19 virus, procurement is being undertaken after taking enough precautions and ensuring social distancing in the mandis. Every effort is being made to ensure that the farmers are not put to any distress. Continuing the healthy pace of dispatch of food grains from surplus to consuming regions, Food Corporation of India (FCI) crossed the 2000 number in terms of trainloads dispatched during the lockdown period.
Till 27 April 2020, a total number of 2087 of trainloads carrying about 58.44 LMT were dispatched to meet the requirements of food grains under various schemes of government of India. Unloading of 1909 rakes carrying 53.47 LMT stocks was also done during this period, despite severe constraints posed due to declaration of hotspots and containment zones in many of the key unloading centers in consuming states. It is expected that with a gradual easing of restrictions by central and state governments, the pace of unloading will be enhanced further in the coming days.
Lifting of free food grains to be distributed at a rate of 5 Kg for each person for three months (April to May 2020) under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) is progressing well with UTs of Ladakh and Lakshadweep already completing lifting of full quota for three months. Another seven states are lifting June month quota whereas 20 states are currently lifting May month quota. Eight states are lifting the April month quota, which is expected to be completed by month-end.
FCI has made arrangements to position adequate stocks in all states to meet the requirements. In the case of West Bengal, where additional allocation for three months is about 9 LMT, plans have already been drawn to move about 227 train loads of rice to various parts of the state concurrently from four states that is Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha to West Bengal to ensure availability of sufficient food grains in a short period.