India exceeds wheat, paddy buffer norms

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New Delhi, Oct 25 (UNI) India is comfortably placed on the food front with wheat stock estimated at 61.35 lakh tonnes during 2008-09 against the buffer norms of 40 lakh tonnes and the rice stock currently at 64.13 lakh tonnes.

Rice procurement saw a pick up as government agencies reported stocks of more than 64 lakh tonnes.

Rice procurement during Kharif marketing season 2007-08, was 284.29 lakh tonnes compared to the overall procurement of 251.07 lakh tonnes in KMS 2006-2007, representing a 13.28 per cent jump over the previous year, according to the latest reports. KMS 2008-09 commenced from October 1.

Till October 22, 83.74 lakh tonnes of paddy has been procured in KMS 2008-09 against 79.26 lakh tonnes procured during corresponding period in KMS 2007-08.

Meanwhile, the Centre has decided to make available 52 lakh tonnes of non-levy (free-sale) sugar for October-December 2008 against 42 lakh tonnes made available during October-December 2007.

To avoid build-up of stocks at the end of the month, sugar mills are being advised to sell at least one-third of their monthly quota of non-levy sugar in the first fortnight of the month.

In a letter dated October 16 last, Chief Commissioners or Commissioners of Central Excise were requested to furnish reports regarding quantity of sugar sold or dispatched against monthly non-levy sugar quota for September 2008 and against total dismantled first buffer stock and 25 per cent of the dismantled second buffer stock which were required to be sold by September 30 last, after verifying the records of the sugar factories.

They have been requested to send the requisite report by October 30. During the week, ex-mill prices declined by Rs 5 to Rs 50 a quintal in all major states in the country.

Retail prices of sugar in the four metro cities were in the range of Rs 19 a kg to Rs 21 a kg.

One million tonnes of subsidised edible oils are to be distributed during 2008-2009 through state governments, under the scheme for distribution of subsidised oils.

So far, orders have been placed for 3.48 lakh tonnes of edible oils, of which 2.40 lakh tonnes of edible oil had been shipped.

Till October 13, 2.39 lakh tonnes of edible oil had landed in the country and about 1.43 lakh tonnes been distributed to various states/UTs by Central PSUs.

Distribution of subsidised imported edible oils has started in 12 states/UTs namely Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnatka, Sikkim, Nagaland and Rajasthan. It is likely to commence shortly in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Pondicherry.

Edible oil has been contracted by PSUs for distribution up to November/December 2008. Due to various measures taken by the Government, good kharif crop of oilseeds expected and fall in international prices of edible oils, there has been a decline in the wholesale prices of soyabean oil, groundnut oil, sunflower oil and RBD Palmolein have declined soyabean oil and RBD Palmolein declining by about 17 per cent since September 13.

UNI SD MP HS1817

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