Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday assured that the Centre will procure excess stocks of raw rice from Telangana as per the quality specified by the Food Corporation of India. The assurance came from Goyal after a delegation of TRS leaders met Goyal in Parliament over the issue of procurement of rice from Telangana.
Emphasising that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is committed to the welfare of farmers, Goyal said the Centre procures rice from all over the country without any discrimination. The minister further said that the Telangana government has written a letter to the Centre stating that the state will provide raw rice which is being consumed across the country.
“The Central government stands committed to buying whatever excess stocks of raw rice in Telangana as per the quality specified by the Food Corporation of India and as per the agreement…. The farmers of Telangana can rest assured there is absolutely no discrimination,” Goyal said.
According to an official statement, Goyal said the Telangana Government was misleading farmers of Telengana on the rice procurement issue.
In 2014-15, Goyal said Rs 3,391 crore was paid as MSP of paddy to farmers of Telangana. However, in KMS (kharif marketing season) 2020-21, the Union government paid Rs 26,610 crores as paddy MSP to the farmers of Telangana. “The Central Government stands committed to buy whatever excess stocks are there in Telangana, after their own consumption, in the form of raw rice and as per the quality specified by Food Corporation of India (FCI), as per the MoU with the Centre, as was committed by the state government in writing to the union government,” he said.
Goyal underlined that the Telangana Government has not yet shared the amount of raw rice that will be provided to the Central Pool during current Rabi crop. “I feel sorry to inform you that the Centre has been asking Telangana to come forward on this issue and inform how much raw rice they will be giving to the Central Pool. They have not provided any details in this regard,” he said.
Goyal also briefed about the rice procurement process. He said the Centre procures the rice based on the consumption pattern and demand of various states. The states after procuring the rice, keep stock for domestic consumption of the state and the balance is taken by the Centre. Goyal showed the copy of the MoU with all the states including Telangana wherein he highlighted that if the stocks of the rice procured by the state government exceeds its allocation and the PDS and other welfare schemes, such excess stocks should be handed over to the FCI by the state government.
FCI should have the option to specify whether such excess rice that would be handed over to FCI for Central Pool by the State shall be in the form of raw rice or parboiled rice. This information has been given to all the states.
Accordingly the Telangana Government has written a letter to the Centre confirming that they will provide the Centre raw rice as per the demand in the whole country. He mentioned that a meeting was convened by the union food secretary, on 25th February, 2022 to discuss rice procurement. All states were asked to fill a particular format. But, Telangana never submitted the form. The minister informed that another meeting was chaired by the Joint Secretary on March 8, 2022, wherein Telangana was reminded again to share the details.