In a move to manage food security and curb hoarding and unscrupulous speculation, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has announced the imposition of stock limits on wheat for traders, wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, and processors across all states and union territories.
The Removal of Licensing Requirements, Stock Limits, and Movement Restrictions on Specified Foodstuffs (Amendment) Order, 2023 has been implemented with immediate effect from 12th June, 2023, and will remain in force until 31st March, 2024.
Under the new order, stock limits have been set individually for each entity as follows:
- Traders/wholesalers – 3000 metric tons (MT),
- Retailers – 10 MT for each retail outlet,
- Big chain retailers – 10 MT for each outlet and 3000 MT at all their depots, and
- Processors – 75% of their annual installed capacity.
It is mandatory for these entities to declare their current stock positions and update them regularly on the Department of Food and Public Distribution’s portal.
If the stocks held by any entity exceed the prescribed limits, they must bring them within the stipulated limits within 30 days of the issuance of this notification.
In addition, the Central Government has also decided to offload wheat from the central pool stock in order to control retail prices. The first phase of the Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) (OMSS (D)) 2023 will see the offloading of 15 lakh metric tons (LMT) of wheat through e-auctions to flour mills, private traders, bulk buyers, and manufacturers of wheat products. The wheat will be sold in lot sizes ranging from 10 to 100 MT. Interested parties can register for the auction on the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) e-auction platform.
The imposition of stock limits on wheat, along with the offloading of wheat and rice through OMSS, is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to stabilize the prices of essential commodities. The Department of Food and Public Distribution is closely monitoring the stock position of wheat and rice to control prices and ensure their easy availability throughout the country.