The Food Corporation of India (FCI) was established on January 14, 1965, under the Food Corporations Act of 1964, with its first District Office at Thanjavur and headquarters at Chennai, which was later moved to New Delhi.
Last year, the FCI celebrated its 58th Foundation Day. Celebrating the foundation day, the Union Minister Shri Piyush Goyal addressed all the staffs of FCI and congratulated them through video conferencing.
Food Corporation of India: A Storage House for Agricultural Yields
The Food Corporation of India procures wheat and rice from farmers through many routes such as purchase centres. These procured grains are then maintained and stored by FCI in many types of depots like food storage depots, buffer storage complexes and private godowns while implementing latest storage methods of silo storage facilities that are located all over the country.
Providing Farmers Minimum Support Price and Safeguarding their Yields
The main objectives of FCI are to provide farmers an effective price support for their food grains, safeguarding their interests; distribution of foodgrains all over the country especially to vulnerable section of the society through public distribution system (PDS) and maintaining a reasonable level of buffer stocks of foodgrains to ensure food security. And, the FCI plays a crucial role in keeping the prices under check.
The FCI is the main central agency for execution of food policies of the Government of India. Shri Piyush Goyal also praised the FCI for its seamless supply of foodgrains during the pandemic under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anya Yojana’ (PMGKAY), realizing the dream of a self-sufficient India.
5 Sutras for the Development of FCI
Celebrating the foundation day, the Union Minister Shri Piyush Goyal released a ‘5-point reform agenda for FCI’. This agenda is also called as ‘5 Sutras’.
It aims to improve FCI and its development. The following are the 5 sutras released by the Union Minister for the progress of FCI:
• Changing the public perception of FCI from being inefficient and corrupt to dynamic, inclusive and honest
• Focusing on integrating end-to-end tech solutions right from procurement to delivery to achieve operational efficiency and leakage-free distribution, reduce PDS response time, beneficiary tracking and so forth
• Establishing a grievance redressal mechanism to react rapidly to farmer/farmer producer organisation in distress and reaching out to farmers through ‘Jan Jagrukta’ programmes at grass-root level to spread awareness
• Planning for modern infrastructure and logistics, upgrading warehouses to international standards and improving storage capacity for the growing need of power backup, CCTV, robust network facility
• Global best practices to make India a ‘food hub’
Increase in Annual Procurement by FCI to Meet the Requirements of Various Government Programmes
Annually, today, FCI procures almost 1,300 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of wheat and paddy when compared with approximately 13 LMT procured previously in 1965. Further, distribution across the country is now nearly 600 LMT when compared with about 18 LMT in 1965. Presently, the storage capacity is more than 800 LMT against the 6 LMT achieved in 1965.
The Food Corporation of India has adequate stock of foodgrains that is sufficient to meet the NFSA requirement and various other schemes and programmes under PMGKAY.
At the moment, the FCI has about 232 LMT of wheat and 209 LMT rice in its pool. After meeting all these requirements, the FCI will be having enough stock to maintain the buffer norms. And it has enough resources to meet the additional requirements and can expedite the surplus stocks to deficit regions of the country.
Construction of Modern Silos to Store the Foodgrains
Under the Hub and Spoke model of public private partnership, the FCI has already planned to construct 111.125 LMT modern steel silos with total investment of about 9,236 crores at 249 locations across 12 states.
These silos will be constructed in three phases in the coming 3-4 years. These modern silos will be handling bulk storage facilities which is a scientific way of storing, ensuring better preservation of foodgrains.
These modern silos are constructed near the agriculture fields and will purely work as purchase centres, reducing distance covered by farmers and operational costs. And, these silos require less land when compared to conventional storage warehouses.
The FCI plays an important role in the storage function of the foodgrains, as it is required to hold huge stock of foodgrains for a long period of time. So, adequate scientific storage is an essential requirement to fulfil the main objectives of the FCI.
Emphasis on Improving India’s Rating in Global Hunger Index
India’s emphasis is on improving its rating in the Global Hunger Index. It could be achieved only by adding more nutritional value to the people’s diet. The Government of India has directed the FCI to make a robust testing mechanism of agricultural yields, evaluate the use of sampling techniques and revise per the global standards.
The FCI and other state agencies procure wheat and paddy under price support scheme. The procurement under price support is done to mainly ensure remunerative prices to the farmers for their agricultural produce, eventually encouraging them to achieve better yield.