Lessons for today from India’s 2006 wheat crisis

I was “cooling off” (a bureaucratic term for spending a minimum period in the state after a central posting) in Ranchi in June 2006, hoping to be back in Delhi by October. One morning, I get a call from the establishment officer asking me to report as Secretary of Food and Public Distribution the next … Read more

Explained: The impact of price volatility

Between May 13, 2014 and May 13, 2022, the average “modal” (most-quoted) retail price of palm oil in India rose over 2.3 times, from Rs 68.5 to Rs 160 per kg. So did the consumer prices of packed sunflower (2.1 times; from Rs 90 to Rs 190.75/kg) and soyabean (2.2 times; from Rs 77 to … Read more

Explained: How government procures wheat

The procurement of wheat is underway in several states. The government procures foodgrains — rice, wheat, and coarse grains — in order to ensure farmers receive the minimum support price (MSP), and a stock is maintained to distribute to the poor under the public distribution system (PDS) and other schemes. How is the procurement carried … Read more