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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra

Food Corporation of India

Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru did not want to beg for food grains from America, but he was very keen to make India self-sufficient in food with Green Revolution. He planned with Partap Singh Kairon to establish Punjab Agricultural University in developing high-yielding varieties of all crops. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) was set up on January 14, 1965, with the following objectives:

  1. Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interest of poor farmers.

  2. Distribution of food grains throughout the country for the Public Distribution System.

  3. Maintaining a satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks of food grains to ensure National Food Security.

  4. Regulate market price to provide food grains to consumers at a reliable price.

Necessary steps were taken for Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandi in some areas of the country. Since 1966 (for 64 years) farmers had to sell wheat and rice at the Minimum Support Price in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee to the Food Corporation of India. Farmers happily cooperated with the Government to sell their produce at a price close to the cost of cultivation to solve the food problem of India. Now as the farmers have solved the food problem, the Government wants to hand over the marketing of food grains to the corporates instead of the Food Corporation Of India. Farmers demand that the present system should be strengthened with a reasonable Minimum Support Price (MSP). For example, private companies purchase basmati rice @ Rs 20 per Kg and put company level and sell @ Rs 160 per Kg in the market. It is very important to make FCI more efficient rather than dismantle it and handover the marketing of agricultural produce to the corporates. To decrease the area under wheat and rice, the Government may issue 25 licences of Sugar Mills both to Punjab and Haryana and maintain the MSP at a reasonable level of maize, potatoes, sugarcane, cotton, oilseed crops and vegetables. Now there is an urgent need to double the capacity of FCI so that it may purchase fruits and vegetables in to order stabilize its prices in the market.

Note: The Food Corporation of India is an organization created and run by the Government of India. It has five different zones at Noida, Kolkata, Mumbai, Guwahati, and Chennai with a total of 21, 847 employees (as of March 31, 2019).

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