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Day 44 – Q 4.What do understand by ‘buffer stock’? Is buffer stock of food grains adequate in India? Don’t you think quantity of buffer stock has never been an issue in India? Analyse.

4. What do understand by ‘buffer stock’? Is buffer stock of food grains adequate in India? Don’t you think quantity of buffer stock has never been an issue in India? Analyse. 

आप ‘बफर स्टॉक’ से क्या समझते हैं? क्या भारत में अनाज का बफर स्टॉक पर्याप्त है? क्या आपको नहीं लगता कि बफर स्टॉक की मात्रा भारत में कभी भी कोई मुद्दा नहीं रही है? विश्लेषण करें।


A buffer stock is a system or scheme which buys and stores stocks at times of good harvests to prevent prices falling below a target range (or price level), and releases stocks during bad harvests to prevent prices rising above a target range (or price level).


State-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) is the responsible agency to maintain buffer stock limits in India. As per recent reports, India held food grain stock of 46 million tonnes as on October 1 2017, which is 53 per cent higher than the buffer norm.

In India, the quantity of buffer stock has never been an issues especially after Green revolution. We have always had surplus stocks even during adverse harvest seasons and with introduction of food security schemes, the stocks limit has been increased further.

But there are other issues related with buffer stocks:

  • Cost of storage: Lack of cost effective storage practices of food grains.
  • Spoilage: Huge quantities of stocks are spoilt due to non-scientific storage when huge percentage of population are dying of hunger in country.
  • Warehousing: Lack of space and infrastructure for storage of food grains after procurement.
  • Transportation: Issues like Huge cost, Spilling and spoilage during transportation.
  • Diversion: Diversion of food grains to black markets, Liquor production etc.
  • Targeted delivery: The delivery of food grains to intended beneficiaries is an issue due to overlapping of functions and Ghost beneficiaries.

Way forward:

Implementation of Shantakumar committee recommendation will address the above issues:

  • Procurement: hand over all procurement operations of wheat, paddy and rice to states that have gained sufficient experience in this regard and have created reasonable infrastructure for procurement.
  • Food Security: GoI should defer implementation of NFSA in states that have not done end to end computerization; have not put the list of beneficiaries online for anyone to verify, and have not set up vigilance committees to check pilferage from PDS.
  • Beneficiaries: Should be brought down to 40% from 67% at present.
  • Storage: FCI should outsource its stocking operations to various agencies such as Central Warehousing Corporation, State Warehousing Corporation, Private Sector under Private Entrepreneur Guarantee (PEG) scheme, and even state governments.

Best Answer: John Nash

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