Initial hiccups notwithstanding, wheat procurement in Haryana mandis has gone in a rather hassle-free manner with the five state procurement agencies purchasing about 49.52 lakh tonnes of wheat against a procurement target of 65 lakh tonnes.
The by-and-large smooth procurement operation happened due to the hands-on approach of the state government as it made some prompt moves in getting the sampling done in collaboration with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) as soon as the grains started arriving in the mandis. This was followed by concerted follow-ups with the Central government for relaxations of norms for procurement of shrivelled and broken grain and lustre loss.
“The farmers and arhtiyas were edgy when the procurement started. We also knew that the quality of grain will be bad. So, we immediately pressed for relaxations and then even got the limit enhanced for shrivelled and broken grain from 9% to 10%,” said a government official. The state government also toned down the farmers’ anxiety by deciding to bear the value cut imposed on the lustre loss.
DCs STEERED PROCUREMENT
Instead of the district food and supplies controller (DFSC) supervising the procurement operations, the state government ordered deputy commissioners (DCs) to take charge this time. “Not only the DCs are overseeing the procurement, they have also been asked to visit the mandis on daily basis to disentangle any glitch,” said an official engaged in procurement.
Also, the state government ensured multi-layered monitoring of procurement by allotting districts to administrative secretaries in the rank of additional chief secretaries and principal secretaries who made frequent visits to the mandis.
CASH-CREDIT LIMIT ISSUE SORTED OUT
Since the Union ministry of finance refused to extend the cash-credit facility for making payment to farmers by the public sector undertakings (PSUs) such as HAFED, Warehousing Corporation and Agro Industries Corporation engaged in the procurement process, these agencies negotiated themselves with the banks to obtain the credit facility.