Centre for private players in construction of food storage pools

Under Private Entrepreneurship Guarantee scheme, a storage capacity of 202.22 lakh ton has been approved for construction at various locations in 20 States, says the Ministry of State for Consumer Affairs, referring to the existing challenges being faced by the states like North-East, among others, holding deficit storage locations.  

By Sai Nikesh

In addition to already existing central pools available with Food Grain Corporation of India (FCI) for the storage of food grains, the Indian Ministry of State for Consumer Affairs on Tuesday informed that the government is keen on involving private players in the construction of storage capacities for food grains.

In a move to further augment the available food grain storages in the country, the government is planning to rope in private entrepreneurs, private warehouses, Central Warehouse Corporation (CWC) and State Warehousing Corporation (SWC) under Private Entrepreneurship Guarantee scheme.

Under this scheme, the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs Raosaheb Patil Danve says, the government has already approved the construction of a storage capacity of 202.22 lakh tonne in 20 states.

To this effect, already the construction of a storage capacity of 122.88 lakh ton in the form of conventional godowns has been completed as of January 31, 2015.

In this regard, the government is also providing proper training to the above said corporations, private entrepreneurs, officials of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the State governments involved in procurement, storage and distribution of food grains.

The Ministry says that this decision has been taken in view of the existing challenges being faced by the states holding deficit storage locations.

The Minister further informed that a capacity of 2,92,730 tonnes in North-East(NE) Region and 76,220 tons in the areas ‘other than NE Region( J&K, Odisha,Kerala,etc.,), have been approved under 12th Five Year Plan.

To this effect, a total of 49, 9120 tons of storage capacity has already been constructed by 31st January, 2015.

According to the sources, the state secretaries of the NE region were convinced to engage the private players in view of the inadequate storage facilities by FCI and States.

Usually the farmers of the NE region fall in losses by undergoing a distress sale at the time of harvesting and as a result, the middlemen increase the stock prices and create a price imbalance.

Meanwhile the higher level expert committee appointed by the government suggests to decrease the coverage area for total food grains procurement from 67% of population to 40%.

Responding to the committee’s recommendation for a gradual introduction of cash transfers in Targeted Public Distributed System, the government called for the faster digitization of the beneficiaries databases under the system.

 

 This article was published in The Dollar Business on February 25, 2015.

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