The government has procured 216 lakh tonnes of wheat till Wednesday, as against the target to buy 400 lakh tonnes from farmers in the ongoing harvesting season of rabi (winter-sown) crops, an official statement said.
The procurement of wheat and rice (second crop) during the ongoing Rabi season has picked up pace despite severe logistical constraints posed due to countrywide lockdown," the food ministry said in a statement.
Against the target of 400 lakh tonnes of wheat, procurement for the central pool (buffer stock) has touched 216 lakh tonnes till May 6.
The procurement in major wheat producing states like Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh had started only after April 15.
Punjab is leading in wheat procurement with 104.28 lakh tonnes purchased so far, followed by Haryana (50.56 lakh tonnes) and Madhya Pradesh (48.64 lakh tonnes).
Food Corporation of India (FCI) is the government's nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains. The foodgrains are procured from farmers at the minimum support price (MSP).
Similarly, paddy procurement is also going on smoothly with 44.9 lakh tonnes procured so far by the government agencies.
Due to unseasonal rains, some of the wheat stocks in producing states were affected. The Centre has already relaxed the specifications for procurement which has greatly aided the process and saved farmers from any distress.
Regarding paddy, the maximum procurement has happened in Telangana.
Out of the total paddy procurement of about 45 lakh tonnes, the contribution of Telangana alone is 30 lakh tonnes, followed by Andhra Pradesh with about 10 lakh tonnes.
The lifting of foodgrains by state governments under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) has crossed 70 lakh tonnes, which is about 58 per cent of the total allocation for three months.
Under this scheme, 5 kg foodgrain is being distributed per month free of cost to about 80 crore beneficiaries across the country. Free grains will be supplied for three months.
"Every state has completed lifting of stocks against April 2020 quota and 5 Union Territories have completed lifting of the entire 3 month's quota," the statement said.
The Centre is ensuring that availability of foodgrains is not a cause of concern for anyone in the country by providing sufficient stocks to every state/UT, it added.