Importing wheat after 6 yrs
There is no shortage of wheat in the country. The public distribution system has enough too. And there isn't even a likelihood of a shortage ? the next crop is quite good. Yet, India is importing a whopping five lakh tonnes of wheat. Last such import was in 1999.india Updated: Feb 03, 2006 12:29 IST
There is no shortage of wheat in the country. The public distribution system has enough too. And there isn't even a likelihood of a shortage — the next crop is quite good. Yet, India is importing a whopping five lakh tonnes of wheat. Last such import was in 1999.
Despite the all's-well claim, there had been a steady rise in the price of wheat in several parts of the country — specially the south — over the last some days as reports came of empty silos or, as the government may claim, emptying silos.
Here is what the government says. Announcing the decision on Thursday, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said there were adequate stocks to meet the needs of public distribution system and welfare schemes; the next procurement was also expected to be good. But the imports were being made just to avoid any risks and to help the government release sufficient quantities, as and when required, to check the prices.
In short, wheat is being imported to keep the buffer stock looking good. The import was assigned to the State Trading Corporation (STC) and the stocks were expected in 60 days. These would be landing only at southern ports as prices were ruling high in the southern region.
The last time the country imported wheat was in 1998-99. The imported quantity then was 1.50 lakh tonnes. The minister said he had convened a meeting of the food secretaries.