Centre ropes in three private players for rice procurement
The Centre has roped in three private players including NCML this year for rice procurement on cluster basis in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The Union Food Ministry has prepared a policy to engage private players for foodgrains procurement through competitive bidding process acting on the recommendations of high-level committee of the state-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI). Presently, state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies undertake procurement of foodgrains, which are used for distributed through ration shops to the poor. These three companies are National Collateral Management Services Ltd (NCMSL), Veerprabhu Marketing Ltd and Farmers Fortune (India) Pvt Ltd, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said in the Rajya Sabha. “These players have been engaged to expand the coverage of minimum support price (MSP) operations to such identified clusters of districts/parts of the district, where outreach of government agencies has been weak and state governments have consented for FCI to engage the private agencies to reach out to the paddy farmers for improvement,” Paswan said. He said arrangements have been put in place to monitor the work of these private agencies. FCI will verify the payment of MSP has been made by the private parties within two working days through electronic mode before reimbursement to private players. The private players are bound to furnish daily procurement reports to FCI, which has the right to inspect purchase centers, storage points and miller premises. The quality checking of rice will be carried out by FCI at the time of acceptance at its depots, he added.