Sunday, December 4, 2022

Govt revises OMSS policy; restores transportation charges: Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey


The government has revised the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) of foodgrains for bulk consumers and private traders by restoring transportation charges that were waived last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said on Saturday.

Under the OMSS policy, the government allows state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) to sell foodgrains, especially wheat and rice, at predetermined prices in the open market from time to time to bulk consumers and private traders.

The policy aims to enhance supply of grains especially during the lean season and thereby to moderate the general open market prices, especially in the deficit regions.

“In the revised OMSS policy, only one change has been made and restored the transportation charges which was borne last year by the Government of India due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pandey told reporters in a virtual press conference.

That was an aberration and a departure from the normal policy. This year, the transportation charges have been “restored back” and buyers will have to pay as per ex-Punjab or Haryana wherever the commodity is transported, he said.

The Secretary also mentioned that the sale of grains under the OMSS this year has been the highest ever and crossed the target of 75 lakh tonne. Total sales have reached 85 lakh tonne, he said.

The revised OMSS policy is a stable policy and will help considering the rise in global prices in the coming months, he added.

For transparency in operations, the FCI has switched over to e-auction for sale under the OMSS to bulk consumer and private traders. It conducts a weekly auction and even state governments are allowed to participate in the e-auction if they require the grain.

Wheat production in India, the world’s second largest producer, is estimated to touch a new record 111.32 million tonne in the 2021-22 crop year (July-June) as against 109.59 million tonne in the previou year, as per the Agriculture Ministry’s second advance estimate.

Wheat, the main rabi (winter) crop, will start hitting the market from March 15 onwards. The country also has a surplus stock of wheat in the government godowns.

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