All states allowed to begin paddy procurement: Food Ministry

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New Delhi: After Kerala, Punjab and Haryana commenced paddy procurement operations, all the remaining states have been allowed to start the process in the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2020-21 from Monday, the Food Ministry said.

The Department of Food and Public Distribution has now allowed all the remaining procuring states to proceed with their procurements for paddy/rice to ensure that farmers were facilitated in selling their produce at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) expeditiously, a Ministry statement said.

The process in Kerala began on September 21 and in Punjab and Haryana from September 26.

The department has issued uniform specifications for central pool procurement in the 2020-21 KMS in respect of paddy/rice and other coarse grains, namely jowar, bajra, maize and ragi.

These specifications also include standards of rice for issuance to states/UTs for distribution under TDPS (Targeted Public Distribution System) and other welfare schemes based on the uniform specifications of rice for KMS 2020-21.

It is for the first time that uniform specification for Fortified Rice Kernels (FRK) for Grade 'A' and Common Rice have also been issued in case of procurement of Fortified Rice Stocks, of which 1 per cent FRK (w/w) should be blended with normal rice stock, said the statement.

The states have been requested to ensure that wide publicity of the uniform specifications was made among the farmers to ensure that they got due price for their produce and any rejection of the stocks was completely avoided, said the Ministry.

All states/Union Territories and Food Corporation of India (FCI) have been advised that the procurement during KMS 2020-21 may be strictly in accordance with the uniform specifications, as per the statement.

The FCI and state procurement agencies have been directed to ensure hassle-free procurement and payment of Minimum Support Prices to farmers.

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