Govt revises buffer norms for central foodgrain pool

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval to revise the buffer norms of food grains, in order to fix the upper limit of grain stock to be held in the central pool so that stocks are enough to ensure food security.

Accordingly, the buffer limit of food-grain stock has been revised to 21.04 million tonnes as of 1 April against the existing 21.2 million tonnes, while it would be 41.12 million tonnes (31.9 million tonnes earlier) as of 1 July, 30.77 million tonnes (21.2 million tonnes earlier) as of 1 October and 21.4 million tonnes (25.0 million tonnes earlier) as of 1 January.

In case the stock of food grains in the central pool is more than the revised buffer norms, the department of food and public distribution will offload excess stock in the domestic market through open sale or through exports, the CCEA said in a release.

The government has constituted an inter-ministerial group (IMG) consisting of secretaries of the department of food and public distribution, expenditure and consumer affairs, to ensure better management of food stocks in the country. 

The present buffer norms for food grains in the central pool are in existence since April 2005.

The off take of food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) has increased significantly in the last few years. Further, the National Food Security Act has also come into force with effect from 5 July 2013.

The CCEA also approved the fair and remunerative price of sugarcane payable by sugar mills for the 2015-16 sugar season to be fixed at Rs230 per quintal.

This will be linked to a basic recovery rate of 9.5 per cent, subject to a premium of Rs2.42 per quintal for every 0.1 percentage point increase in recovery above that level.

This decision will ensure a guaranteed price to cane growers, a CCEA release said.