While presiding over a conference of the newly formed State Advisory Committees for the purpose of food grain storage, Thomas said that more grain storage capacities are in the offering by the ministry for the states.
"The government is taking steps to create new additional coverage storage capacity of more than 152 lakh metric tonnes across 19 states. The state governments have also been requested to introduce a scheme of their own for this storage to the PPP (Public-Private partnership) models," he said.
The storage of food grains posed a big problem for the food ministry of India as tonnes of food grains had reportedly rotten away in the past due to inadequate storage facilities.
Some storage and transit loss occurred last year as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and other Government agencies failed to adequately store the food grains.
In wake of the efforts made by the ministry, the storage and transit losses of FCI came down over the years.
Thomas also stated that the much-anticipated Food Security Bill would most probably be tabled in the next session of the Parliament.
The food minister stated that the ministry tried to ensure that the system was made more transparent and accountable to the people.
Thomas further added that the newly formed State Advisory Committees that were formed to look into matter of grain storage would play an important role.
"We want to make every system as transparent as possible. We think that the State Advisory Committees can function in such a manner that all the functions of FCI (Food Corporation of India), the PDS (Public Distribution System) system become highly transparent. Now in this committee, there is a chairman, were finally constituted about three months back. One by one all the chairmen of the states will be constituted in sometime by the Parliamentary Affairs ministry," said Thomas.
India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, had allowed an export of 1 million tonnes of common rice for the first time since 2008 and lifted a four-year old ban on wheat sales, as it tried to balance the management of excess grain stocks so that they were able to effectively curb the rising inflation.
However, the timing of India’s decision is unfortunate as it came after Russia, world’s third largest exporter of wheat, this month started selling cargoes following a year of drought.
Analysts said that would make it almost impossible for Indian wheat to find a home, particularly as the Indian wheat will cost around 300 dollars per tonne against the roughly 244 dollar cost of its Black Sea competitor