Coronavirus: 10 times the required emergency food stock available in India
New Delhi : Consumers in India started piling up food and essentials after reports of rising coronavirus cases in the nation. The Union Government has assured that there is enough amounts of food foodgrain stocks in federal and state-held reserves, several times the required emergency buffer, to tide over any crisis.
India currently have 10 times the emergency reserve needed for this time of the year and the country’s over 500,000 fair price shops are likely to be pressed into action to deal with mass distribution in case of any emergency, an official of the consumer affairs ministry said, requesting anonymity.
However, experts have claimed that the government has a limitation of providing the essential things to wheat, rice and limited quantities of sugar and pulses. Rest essential things will go out of hands in no time.
An inter-ministerial group is in talks with major industries to ensure steady supplies of essential items, as families fearing more restrictions on movement in the wake of the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak are stocking up on household items, the official said.
As of February 1, the Food Corporation of India had 30 million tonnes of wheat, while norms require 3 million as strategic reserve. On the other hand, rice stocks currently amount to about 27 million tonnes, while the government’s norms require a strategic stock of 2 million tonne.
"If there is a need, the government can and will resort to open market sale from the Centre’s stock," the official said. This means if there is any shortage of foodgrains in private markets, the government will release from its share held in reserves for a certain price.