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March 29, 2024

Center Enforces Mandatory Declaration of Wheat Stock: A Measure Against Hoarding

In an effort to manage the nation’s food security and curb hoarding practices, the Centre has issued a mandate requiring all traders, wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, and processors to declare their wheat stock positions starting April 1. This directive aims to ensure transparency and prevent unscrupulous speculation in the wheat market.

Effective from April 1, entities across states and Union Territories must report their wheat stock status on the government portal. This move follows the expiration of the current wheat stock limit on March 31. The government has emphasized that similar declarations for rice stocks by all entities are already in place.

Entities not yet registered on the designated portal (https://evegoils.nic.in) must promptly register themselves to comply with the new regulation. Subsequently, they are required to disclose their wheat and rice stock every Friday.

This decision aligns with the ongoing efforts of the Food Department to stabilize grain prices and ensure their availability. Notably, in December 2023, the Centre revised the limits for stocking wheat, reducing them for various categories of entities. For instance, retailers saw a reduction from 10 MT to 5 MT per outlet, while big chain retailers had their limits adjusted to 5 MT per outlet and 1,000 MT at all depots, down from 10 MT and 2,000 MT respectively.

Entities found exceeding the prescribed stock limits have been instructed to bring their stocks within the specified limits within 30 days of the notification’s issuance. Recent measures undertaken by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution reflect a concerted effort to enhance wheat availability and moderate prices. These measures include a reduction in the stock limits for traders/wholesalers from 1,000 MT to 500 MT and for processors from 5 MT per outlet and 1,000 MT at all depots to 5 MT per outlet and 500 MT at all depots.

The decision to enforce mandatory declaration of wheat stocks comes at a critical juncture as the nation grapples with an accelerating food inflation rate. Data from the National Statistical Office reveals a concerning rise in the food inflation rate to 8.7 per cent in February, up from 8.3 per cent in the previous month, despite a marginal easing in the overall consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation rate to 5.09 per cent.

In conclusion, the Centre’s move to mandate wheat stock declarations underscores its commitment to ensuring food security and preventing market distortions caused by hoarding. By enhancing transparency and accountability in wheat stock management, these measures are poised to contribute to a more stable and equitable food distribution system, ultimately benefiting consumers nationwide.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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