Prices for wheat flour (atta) continue to rise: according to official figures, the average daily retail price across India was Rs 36.98 per kg on Tuesday, up 17.51% from Rs 31.47 per kg a year ago.
The figures show that the price of atta almost equaled the price of rice (Rs 37.96/kg) and approached the price of sugar (Rs 42.69/kg).
The retail price of wheat also rose by 12.01% from Rs 28.34 per kg a year ago to Rs 31.77 per kg on November 22 this year.
Data provided by the State Department of Civil Procurement and collated by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) is available on the DoCA website.
Prices for wheat and atta have been rising since the beginning of this year, mainly due to a decrease in production (106 million tons) in the country and an increase in demand outside the country after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Although the government banned wheat exports on May 13 this year, actual shipments have doubled in the first six months (April-September) of the current fiscal year compared to last year.
During April-September, India exported 45.53 lakh metric tons of wheat compared to 23.72 million metric tons exported during the same period last year. Likewise, atta exports were also higher. During April-September 2022, India exported 4.50 lakh metric tons of wheat flour, up from 2.04 million metric tons in the same period last year.
The ban on wheat exports in May came amid a 106 million tonne decline in production, reduced purchases (18.7 million tons from 43.3 million tons last year) and rising domestic prices. However, two types of shipments were allowed: export based on a permit issued by the Center to other countries “to meet their food security needs” and “at the request of their governments”; and contracted exports for which irrevocable letters of credit have already been opened.
In August this year, the government also banned the export of atta. However, domestic prices for wheat and atta are steadily rising.
While prices have risen, central pool wheat inventories have fallen to all-time lows: As of November 1, 2022, central pool wheat inventories stood at 210.46 lakh metric tons, nearly half that of 419.81 lakh metric tons. registered per year. back.
Due to the depletion of wheat stocks and reduced purchases this year, the government has revised the distribution of wheat and rice in accordance with the National Food Security Act of 2013 and Pradhan Mantri Gharib Kalyan Anna Yojana for several states. For several states, the Center provided rice instead of wheat.
In September of this year, the Center extended PMGKAY until December 2022.
On Wednesday, Food Minister Sanjeev Chopra told the media that the government had already put in place rules on the export of wheat, flour (wheat) and crushed rice, causing prices to “cool down”. He said that wheat prices have risen by 10-15% compared to last year, but the increase is lower compared to the date when wheat exports were banned.
“Export regulations were put in place in May; since then, growth has been about 7%. Considering MSP [minimum support price] increase, it’s about 3% to 4%, which I would say is not very much. This is, of course, an upswing, but not an upsurge that requires some kind of action different from what we have already done, ”he said.
Asked if the government plans to sell wheat under its Open Market Selling Scheme (OMSS), he said: “At the moment we are monitoring the situation… For the moment we are just waiting and watching…”
Asked if the government would impose restrictions on wheat stocks, Chopra said: “The situation right now does not require any action other than what has already been taken. In the event that we see any anomalous price increase, then obviously we will intervene with measures in our team.”