Centre revises wheat stock limits to rein in prices, hoarding

Workers carry sacks of wheat for sifting at a grain mill on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. File
| Photo Credit: Reuters

The Centre revised the wheat stock limits on December 8 as increase in the prices of wheat and wheat flour (atta) remained unchanged in many parts of the country. For traders and wholesalers, the limit reduced from 2000 metric tonnes (MT) to 1,000 MT.

For retailers, the revised limit for each retail outlet is five MT. It was 10 MT so far. Big chain retailers can stock 5 MT for each of their outlets and 1,000 MT at all their depots. Earlier, it was 10 MT and 2000 MT, respectively. For processors, the new limit is 70% of monthly installed capacity multiplied by remaining months of 2023-24. It was 75% of annual installed capacity or quantity equivalent to monthly installed capacity multiplied by remaining months of 2023-24, whichever is less till this day.

The government said the decision was taken to manage the overall food security and to prevent hoarding and unscrupulous speculation. The moves has been taken under the Removal of Licensing Requirements, Stock Limits and Movement Restrictions on Specified Foodstuffs (Amendment) Order, 2023 of the Centre.

The Food Ministry asked all wheat stocking entities to register on the wheat stock limit portal and update the stock position every Friday.

“Any entity which is found to have not registered on the portal or violates the stock limits will be subject to suitable punitive action under Section 6 & 7 of Essential Commodities Act, 1955,” the Ministry warned adding that the the entities have 30 days’ time to bring the stocks to prescribed limits.

“Officials of Central and State Governments will be closely monitoring enforcement of these stock limits to ensure that no artificial scarcity of wheat is created in the country,” the Ministry said.

The Centre has also decided to increase supplies in the open market from 3 lakh MT to 4 lakh MT with immediate effect. “This will further enhance wheat availability in the open market,” the Ministry said. The Centre said the areas where prices are currently higher have been identified and central cooperative organisations such as NAFED, NCCF and Kendriya Bhandar are undertaking targeted sales.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *