To review the domestic price scenario of non-basmati rice, Secretary of the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Sanjeev Chopra, convened a meeting on 18 December 2023 in New Delhi with the leading rice processing industry representatives.
It was discussed in the meeting that the domestic prices of rice are increasing despite a good crop this Kharif, ample stocks with FCI and in the pipeline, and various regulations in place on rice exports. The rice industry needs to ensure that the prices in the domestic market must be brought down to optimal levels and that efforts at profiteering are dealt with strictly. The annual inflation rate of rice has hovered around 12% for the past two years and has been cumulating over the years, which is a cause of concern.
During the meeting, it was discussed that lower-price benefits must be passed on expeditiously to the end consumers. The leading Rice Industry Associations were advised to address the issue with their members and ensure that the retail price of rice is immediately reduced. There are reports of a sharp increase in the margins being availed by wholesalers and retailers, which needs to be tempered. Besides, it was suggested that where there exists a wide gap between the MRP and actual retail Price, the exact needs to be brought down to a realistic level to safeguard the consumers' interest.
FCI informed the rice processing industry that sufficient stock of good quality rice is available, which is being offered under OMSS at a reserve price of Rs. 29/Kg. It was also suggested that manufacturers/traders may consider lifting FCI rice under OMSS, which may be sold to consumers with a reasonable margin.
The Department of Food & Public Distribution closely monitors and reviews the prices of rice in the country and steps in whenever any intervention is required to ensure the affordability of rice, which forms an integral part of the diet. The Indian consumers thus can expect to pay less for rice in the coming days.