Food Corporation of India (FCI )


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

FCI was set up in 1965 (under the Food Corporation Act, 1964) against the backdrop of major shortage of grains, especially wheat, in the country. Imports of wheat under PL- 480 were as high as 6-7 MMT, when country's wheat production hovered around 10-12 MMT, and country did not have enough foreign exchange to buy that much quantity of wheat from global markets. Self-sufficiency in grains was the most pressing objective, and keeping that in mind high yielding seeds of wheat were imported from Mexico. Agricultural Prices Commission was created in 1965 to recommend remunerative prices to farmers, and FCI was mandated with three basic objectives: (1) to provide effective price support to farmers; (2) to procure and supply grains to PDS for distributing subsidized staples to economically vulnerable sections of society; and (3) keep a strategic reserve to stabilize markets for basic foodgrains. Shortcommings India has moved far away from the shortages of 1960s, into surpluses of cereals in post-2010 period, but somehow the food management system, of which FCI is an integral part, has not been able to deliver on its objectives very efficiently. The benefits of procurement have not gone to larger number of farmers beyond a few states, and leakages in TPDS remain unacceptably high. Needless to say, this necessitates a re-look at the very role and functions of FCI within the ambit of overall food management systems, and concerns of food security

Thursday, 03rd Dec 2015, 04:58:51 AM

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