The government on Tuesday released five million tonnes of stocked wheat and rice for sale to the poor at subsidised rates. The move is aimed at cooling food prices and freeing up godowns for winter harvests.
The Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, also decided to extend the ban on pulses exports and allow duty-free imports of pulses till March 2012.
“In today’s EGoM meeting, it was also decided to allot additional 25 lakh tonnes of wheat and rice quota at the BPL rate to the states,” farm minister Sharad Pawar said. This additional 25 lakh tonnes to BPL category will be over and above their normal quota, he added.
BPL families get wheat and rice at R4.15 and R5.65 per kg, respectively.
“It was also decided to give 25 lakh tonnes additional quota of wheat and rice to APL (Above Poverty Line) families at APL rate, that is at a higher rate of R11.85 rice and R8.45 wheat. A total of 50 lakh tonnes of additional quota of wheat and rice has been approved to the states and they can lift (the stocks) from tomorrow (Wednesday),” Pawar said.
Food inflation rose to 12.13% for the week-ended December 11. According to annual inflation data, rice prices went up by 1.4%, while wheat declined by 5.14%. Wheat prices are generally higher in the four months till March leading to arrival of Rabi (winter) crops. Branded atta (wheat flour) prices have already risen to Rs 17-19 a kg.