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Here is India's food grain storage report card

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New Delhi, Feb 13: When daily millions of people in India sleep hungry, the nation has damaged 4135.224 MT of food grains.

The damaged food grains consist of wheat and rice that are not suitable for human consumption.

Representational Image

According to the latest data of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution; out of 4135.224 MT wasted food grains, rice is 2831.912 MT and wheat 1303.312 MT.

The data is of the total quantity of damaged food grains lying in different Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns as on January 1, 2019.

Maximum food grains have been wasted in Bihar where out of a total of damaged 3567.653 MT food grains, wheat is 1267.687 MT and rice 2299.966 MT.

The second number is of Punjab where 324.394 MT food grains have been wasted. Out of this, wheat is 23.354 MT and rice 301.040 MT.

On the third spot is NEF region (Meghalaya/Mizoram/Tripura), where 100.985 MT of rice has been wasted.

[Chhattisgarh gets award for producing 28.68% more crops than last year]

The fourth number is of Karnataka, with a figure of 45.811 MT of damaged rice.

Kerala is on fifth spot where a total of 33.201 MT food grains have been damaged, out of which wheat is 0.994 MT and rice 32.207 MT.

On the next spot is Jharkhand with wastage of 31.244 MT of rice.

West Bengal is on the seventh spot with a scorecard of 12.290 MT, out of which wheat is 4.510 MT and rice 7.780 MT.

Rice weighing 7.909 MT and 4.970 MT has been damaged in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh respectively.

Wheat weighing 4.740 MT, 1.570 MT, 0.354 MT, and 0.103 has been wasted in Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Delhi, and Maharashtra respectively.

According to data, the damaged stock was 3,338 MT in 2011-12, 3,148 MT in 2012-13, 24,695 MT in 2013-14, 18,847 MT in 2014-15 and 31,115.68 MT in 2015-16 .

Zero Loss States:

Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat are the states where there is nil stock of damaged food grains in any FCI godowns.

Governments claims and FCI's Reality:

According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, India has much more storage capacity that is required for central pool food grains.

"The overall storage capacity required for central pool food grains in the country is about 650 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) and the total storage capacity available with FCI, Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and State Agencies is 851.54 LMT as on 31.12.2018," Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution C.R. Chaudhary informed Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

[4 years of Modi: Strengthened NFSA ensures food for all]

Despite the government's claims if the country damages huge quantity of food grains then an obvious question arises: how much efficient India actually is in storing food grains safe?

The answer to the above question was probably best given by Sharad Pawar, former union agriculture minister, who once told Parliament that nearly 40% of the value of annual production of food in India is wasted, with crops left to rot in the sun without storage or transportation, or eaten by insects and rats.

Pilferage is another reason behind the damaged food grains. There are numerous cases wherein FCI employees stole food grains, sold in the market, and later showed the stock as damaged. Fed up, the Centre has issued guidelines for the disposal of damaged stock.

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India said in its 2017 audit report on FCI that more than 4.72 lakh tonnes of wheat valued at Rs 700.30 crore got damaged in Punjab till March 2016 due to delay in implementation of the private entrepreneur scheme which was expected to increase the storage capacity of food grains in the state.

However, the country continues to damage food grains when 'officially' the FCI has four-stage inspection of stored food grains: fortnightly inspection of stocks on 100% basis by technical assistant, monthly inspection by manager (quality control); quarterly inspection by AGM (quality control), and super checks by regional, zonal and FCI headquarter squads.

The corporation also claims of taking other measures to stop damaging food grains, which include: 'First in First Out' principle is followed to the extent possible so as to avoid longer storage of foodgrains in godowns; damage monitoring cells have been set up at district, regional and zonal levels; measures to stop roof leakages, seepages, and water clogging in the godowns.

However, in reality the lethargy and sloppiness in the FCI seems to be flowing in its blood since decades.

For example, way back in 1984 an India Today report said, FCI loses Rs 35 lakh worth of food grain every day in transit and storage alone.

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