The government has decided to reduce the price of state-produced Bharat Atta by ₹2 per kg, bringing it down from ₹29.50 to ₹27.50 per kg to manage prices during the festival season. This initiative, which was announced in February, will involve the participation of semi-government and cooperative organizations such as the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), the National Cooperative Consumers Federation of India Ltd (NCCF), and Kendriya Bhandar. They will purchase 250,000 tonnes of wheat at ₹21.50 per kg under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) for conversion into atta, which will be offered for sale to the public as ‘Bharat Atta’ through 800 mobile vans and 2,000 retail outlets.
Union Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal, during the launch of this scheme, highlighted that it is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to benefit ordinary consumers and ensure that essential food items remain affordable. The introduction of retail sales for Bharat Atta is intended to enhance market supplies at a reasonable cost, contributing to price stability for this vital food product. A prior report published in Mint on November 2 had outlined the government’s plan to release 250,000 tonnes of wheat into the country’s extensive food distribution system and provide discounted whole wheat flour (Bharat Atta) in anticipation of the last festival season of its term. As part of this plan, the government intended to reduce the price of Bharat Atta from ₹29.50 to ₹27.50 per kg.
In February, the Indian government unveiled a plan to release 300,000 tonnes of wheat from the Food Corp. of India (FCI) to Kendriya Bhandar, NAFED, and NCCF, selling it as Bharat Atta at ₹29.50 per kg to combat inflation. This scheme was initiated but later discontinued when the new crop arrived, and there was no pricing pressure. However, given the significance of the upcoming period, with the new crop expected around March-April, the government has reintroduced the scheme. Traditionally, prices tend to rise in the remaining two to three months before the new crop arrives, and the scheme aims to control prices and address any reports of high prices or shortages during this critical period.
The government has also been selling chana dal under the ‘Bharat’ brand at ₹60 per kg and ₹55 per kg for a 30 kg bag through Kendriya Bhandar fair price shops, NAFED, and NCCF. Additionally, the government has implemented various measures to stabilize tomato and onion prices. The government’s policy interventions aim to benefit both farmers and consumers, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision. For farmers, the government sets the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for food grains, pulses, coarse grains, and millets, while nationwide procurement operations are carried out to ensure that farmers receive the MSP through the Price Support Scheme (PSS).