Indian govt may decide on open market wheat sale Thursday


New Delhi : The government is likely to take a decision Thursday to sell up to six million tons of wheat in the open market for bringing down prices of the food grain in the country.

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“I am going to take a decision tomorrow to enter in open market because I have kept about six million tons exclusively (for this purpose),” Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar said on the sidelines of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research foundation day function here.

Pawar pointed out that wheat prices have increased marginally in some pockets.

“We will see the centre where the price is going up and we will offload wheat (there),” he said, adding the government could sell up to six million tons in the open market.

“Our buffer norms are 45 lakh tons (1 lakh=100,000). In buffer stock, I have kept 55 lakh tons, that is 10 lakh tons more. Then I have kept three million tons as a strategic reserve and three million tons just to enter the open market,” Pawar said.

The government could utilise strategic reserve for open market sale, he said, adding “so, the scope is for six million tons (for open market sale)”.

On rice, Pawar said the procurement has reached about 264 lakh tons so far and 12 lakh tons have been procured by states on behalf of the Centre, which has not been transferred to the Central pool yet.

The minister said the rice procurement target of 270 lakh tons would be met when states would transfer procured stock.

“We expect another one million tons of procurement in next one and half months,” he said, adding rice procurement would surely reach 275 lakh tons.