FCI will not accept rice and artificial bagged rice though permission: Govt – News Couple

FCI will not accept rice and artificial bagged rice though permission: Govt

The department has made it clear that it “will not be responsible in any way for the same/any other issue arising from this permission.”

The Ministry of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs has banned the Food Corporation of India (FCI) from accepting rice and rice packed in HDPE/PP or synthetic bags while allowing states to pack their purchases in synthetic bags. Sixteen states have a target purchase of 517.56 lakh tons (LT) of rice during the current Khareef Marketing Season (KMS).

The 16 states set their buying targets between October and March with Chhattisgarh targeting the highest at 61.65 litres followed by Uttar Pradesh at 46.9 litres and Andhra Pradesh at 42 litres.

The ministry, in a letter (viewed by FE) to 15 states – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal – notwithstanding That the center has given them permission to pack rice and rice in HDPE/PP bags, FCI will not accept rice or rice in synthetic bags as there may be deterioration in quality. The center said the permission was issued at the request of countries in the wake of a shortage of jute bags.

The ministry has made it clear that it “will not be responsible in any way for the same/any other issue arising from this permission”. It has required states to use on-demand milled rice (CMR), which is packed in synthetic bags, in public distribution system (PDS) within their territories on a priority basis. However, synthetic bags must be purchased from the government’s electronic marketplace (GeM) portal.

While 15 states estimated that jute sacks equivalent to 25.73 bales (each bale makes 500 sacks) would be required to purchase yield during KMS-2022, the center calculated the requirement at 21.73 lakh bales for the period. “It was noted that some countries were expecting an exaggeration, which could lead to an increase in indentation,” the ministry’s letter to the states read. This would also lead to “stop money, upon subsequent downward revision in the supply plan, further depriving countries in need of packaging materials”.

Although no country has yet indented synthetic bags for KMS-2022, the center has allocated 18.40 sack equivalent bales for packaging, which translates to Rs 92 crore bags. Accordingly, 90 crores are allocated to jute bags and the rest is synthetic.

However, a division of jute mills fears that the assignment to HDPE/PP will result in the whole wheat being packaged in synthetic bags which will reduce the size of the jute industry, based on the mandatory sequestration of food grains under the 1987 JPM Act, by 25%. This will result in 50,000 direct job losses. The industry has the capacity to supply 34 bales equivalent to jute sacks in KMS and RMS (Rabi marketing season), but the government is building a case to ease wheat out of the scope of the mandatory protection as there is a supply gap through the 11 bales equivalent to sacks, the IJMA official said on condition of anonymity. Jute in recent seasons of KMS and RMS due to the pandemic caused by Covid.

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