“India is ready to supply food grains to the world if the WTO allows.”
This suggestion was given by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to US President Joe Biden. There are many reasons behind PM Modi saying this. If I talk about these reasons, then the most important reason is that despite the corona epidemic, India’s agricultural growth rate was positive. Apart from this, we also had a bumper production of food grains during this period.
Many questions are being raised on this claim of the Indian Prime Minister because the government has just taken a decision… Under this decision, the government has banned the export of wheat.
What are the reasons given by the government behind this ban?
India has imposed these restrictions on exports because the government fears that the increasing export of wheat may not hinder its domestic supply. The government has also taken this action because the inflation rate of wheat has reached the highest level of 9.59 percent. While the inflation rate of pulses for the same period stood at 5.96 per cent.
Now the question arises that by banning the export of wheat, will the domestic exporters not suffer? Will this affect the pockets of farmers?
Yes! This decision will hurt the farmers and exporters. However, the government also wants that the price of the farmers’ crop should be fixed from the market so that they get proper profit. For this purpose, the government had also brought three agricultural laws, which the government had to withdraw due to the protest of the farmers. Now that farmers are making huge profits by selling wheat abroad, then why is the government taking such steps which are causing loss to the farmers?
Actually this issue is related to the increasing income of farmers on one hand and on the other hand there is also increasing price of wheat in the domestic market. A large population that is entitled to food grains at affordable prices under the Food Security Act, the urban middle class is out of the purview of this subsidy. If the price of wheat increases, then they will get wheat at a higher price which will affect their economic condition.
Now the question is, did the government not have any other option than this?
This season’s hot winds have also affected the yield of wheat. Apart from this, the demand for wheat has also increased due to the Ukraine-Russia war. The government has also procured less wheat this year than last year. Due to all these reasons, the prices of wheat started increasing rapidly in the domestic market of India.
If the government had already shown foresight in the context of this problem, then the government would not have had to impose restrictions on the export of wheat in a hurry. For this, the government could already provide bonus to the farmers on the Minimum Support Price. This would eliminate the need for farmers to sell wheat abroad. With this the government would have a substantial stock of wheat and could supply wheat to the world as per domestic requirement.
The government can also make changes in the food distributed in the food distribution schemes started during the Kovid period. For example, rice or any other food crop can be given instead of wheat under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
An innovative way to solve this problem is that the government can also fix a minimum export price for wheat. This would also have brought a rationale in the export of wheat!