Source: The post is based on the article “Express View on Centre’s grain policy: Rice and fall” published in “The Indian express” on 29th July 2023.
Syllabus: GS3- Issues of buffer stocks and food security;
News: The Indian government is concerned about potential grain shortages due to possible El Niño effects on crops. It is leading them to reduce grain distribution to ensure enough for public welfare, stop exports, and halt sales to distilleries, especially with upcoming 2024 elections.
What are the government initiatives to counter potential grain shortages in India?
Restored PDS Quota: The government has returned the Public Distribution System (PDS) grain quota to its original 5 kg/person/month.
Banned Exports: Between May 2022 and the present month, exports of wheat and all non-parboiled non-basmati rice have been prohibited.
Stopped Rice Sales to Distilleries: The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has ceased selling rice to distilleries for ethanol production.
Discontinued OMSS Supply: Over a month ago, the government stopped supplying FCI grain to states under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).
Stocks in Public Warehouses: The government is concerned about the grain stocks in public warehouses.
Priority to PDS: The government is focusing on ensuring enough stocks for the PDS to support poor and vulnerable families.
Elections in 2024: With upcoming national elections, the government is being cautious about grain availability.