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Plea For Parboiled Rice

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for lifting of the estimated surplus parboiled rice from the State for the next Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2021-22.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister said Odisha became a decentralized procurement (DCP) State in the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2003-04. Since then, the State has been undertaking MSP operations for procurement of paddy in decentralized mode.

Such decentralized procurement has improved the outreach of MSP support to paddy growers. The rice milled from the paddy so procured is being used under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes of government of India and the surplus rice is being delivered to the Food Corporation of India (FCI), he said.

The Chief Minister further said around 14 lakh farmers have sold 77.33 lakh MT of paddy (equivalent to 52.35 MT of rice) to the State government during the KMS 2020-21 and MSP dues of about Rs. 14,444 crore have been transferred to the bank accounts of the farmers within 24 to 48 hours of purchase of paddy.

“This has not only benefited the farmers but also strengthened the rural economy of the State, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

However, the Government of India vide their letter dated 31.8.2021 have intimated that for the next KMS no surplus parboiled rice shall be accepted from Odisha by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), he pointed out.

In upcoming KMS 2021-22, Odisha is estimated to procure 52 lakh MT of rice. The State’s own requirement of rice under all the schemes is about 24 lakh MT. This goes to indicate that the State will have a surplus of 28 lakh MT of rice out of which only 4 lakh MT will be raw rice, he mentioned.  

That leaves the State with a balance of 24 lakh MT of parboiled rice for evacuation by FCI. But, the latest decision of the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) has put a question mark on lifting of the said surplus rice from the State, the Chief Minister said in the letter.

As Odisha is primarily a parboiled rice consuming State, the rice milling industry in the State overwhelmingly produces parboiled rice. Therefore, the State is not in a position to face the situation arising due to a paradigm shift in surplus rice delivery profile imposed on the State by DFPD, he further said.

“Non- lifting of the above quantity of surplus parboiled rice from the State due to the restrictions imposed by DFPD has the potential of severely affecting the State’s paddy procurement operations. This will affect about 10 lakh farmers and put them in serious trouble especially during this Covid pandemic situation,” Patnaik said.

He requested the PM for issuing a direction to DFPD to accept the estimated surplus parboiled rice from the State for the next KMS 2021-22. Further, reasonable time may also be given to the State to align itself with the requirements of DFPD, he added.