India will import wheat: On the one hand, the continuous rise in wheat prices has added to the headache for the government in an election year. Apart from this, there is a possibility of shortage of moisture in agricultural land due to low rainfall in this monsoon season in many states, which is likely to affect the production of wheat in the coming rabi season. In such a situation, the chances of stopping the ongoing increase in wheat prices are less. After 15 years, the Indian government is considering resorting to imports to control wheat prices in the domestic market.
Import wheat from Russia now!
The central government is considering importing wheat from Russia at cheaper prices to rein in prices by increasing supply, after wheat prices have soared from domestic to international markets. India has started talks with Russia for this. Wheat imports from Russia will help soften prices.
The price increased by 10% in 2 months.
Retail inflation hit a 15-month high of 7.44 percent in July, while food inflation hit a post-2022 high of 11.51 percent. Apart from vegetables and fruits, wheat has also increased the price of food items. In the last two months, wheat prices in the wholesale market have increased by 10 percent and reached a seven-month high. The Reuters news agency, citing sources, said in its report that the central government is exploring the possibility of importing wheat from Russia through private trade and mutual deals between the two governments. The Government of India has not imported wheat for many years. In 2017, 5.3 MT of wheat was imported by private traders.
Government on alert ahead of Lok Sabha elections
Legislatures are scheduled to be held in several major states later this year, and Lok Sabha elections will be held next year in April 2024. Due to the election year, the government cannot take the risk of increasing wheat prices. Because it can make the bread on the plate expensive. That is why the import of wheat is being discussed, although no decision has been taken yet. Last month, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra ruled out the possibility of importing wheat from Russia.
Scheme for buying wheat at discount
India may import 8 to 9 million metric tonnes of wheat from Russia to help keep wheat prices low in the domestic market from the festive season to the elections. Russia has offered to supply wheat at subsidized rates. Despite the economic sanctions on Russia, there is no restriction on the export of food products from Russia.
Crude oil and sunflower oil were also imported.
After the start of Russia-Ukraine war, India imported cheap crude oil. India is also importing sunflower oil from Russia. India can get a discount of 25 to 40 dollars per tonne on wheat import from Russia. As of August 1, 2023, the Government of India has 28.3 million tonnes of wheat stock in warehouses, which is 20% less than the 10-year average stock.
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