What led to the wheat allocation cut down?
The NFSA wheat allocation for ten states was slashed after a revision in May, and UP and Gujarat have requested a rollback. Can you tell me how much wheat the states consume, what the revision is, and why?
Both BJP-ruled Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have requested the Centre restore their original issuance, which comes under NFSA that is the National Food Security Act, 2013, or change the wheat-rice allocation ratio adapted by the Union Food Ministry in May.
Sudhanshu Pandey, the Food Secretary, announced on May 14 that the Centre had redistributed some amount by replacing ratios of wheat and rice under NFSA. As an example, states receiving 60:40 wheat and rice allocations will now receive 40:60, while states getting 75:25 allocations will now receive 60:40. There will be no rice allocation in states where there has been no rice allocation. There has been no change in allocation for small states, NE states, and special category states. Over the next ten months (June-March), the move is expected to save about 61 lakh tonnes of wheat, according to the Food Ministry.
As part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), the Centre cut wheat allocations for the remaining five months until September. Approximately 55 lakh tonnes of wheat will be saved as a result of that cut. To compensate for the wheat, an equal amount of rice has been allocated.
The wheat allocation under the NFSA was revised downward for ten states: Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. NFSA beneficiaries from these states account for 55.14 crores (67%) of the 81.35 crore beneficiaries.
The two states that have demanded the restoration of their original allocations are primarily wheat-consuming states. As a result of the NFSA, UP now receives 2 kg wheat and 3 kg rice per person per month instead of 3 kg wheat and 2 kg rice per person previously. Per person per month, Gujarat used to receive 3.5 kg of wheat and 1.5 kg of rice but now gets 2 kg of wheat and 3 kg of rice.
From their current allocation of 15.36 lakh tonnes, these ten states will now receive 9.39 lakh tonnes of wheat per month after the revision. Rice allocations will be increased in these states in proportion to the reduction in wheat allocations.
As per the NFSA, “if any state/UT’s allocation under NFSA is lower than their current allocation, it will be protected to the level of their average off-take under erstwhile normal TPDS during 2010-11 to 2012-13”.
The ‘tide over’ allocation refers to this additional quantity of foodgrain.
The tide over wheat allocation for Uttarakhand, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu has been cut. This amounts to approximately 1.13 lakh metric tons. Following the revision, they would no longer receive “tide over” wheat allocations.
There has been a gradual decrease in per capita cereal consumption in India. In rural India, rice consumption per person per month has fallen from 6.39 kg in the year 2004-05 to 5.98 kg in 2011-12, and in urban India, from 4.71 kg to 4.49 kg, according to the National Sample Survey Office’s (NSSO) 2011-12 report. During 2011-12 (July-June), wheat consumption was 4.29 kg in rural areas and 4.01 kg in urban areas, an increase of about 0.1 kg per person per month in rural areas and a fall of 0.35 kg in urban areas since 2004-05.
In 2011-12, five of the ten states where the allocation was revised – Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu – consumed more rice than the all-India average (rural: 5.976, urban: 4.487 kg/person/month). In the remaining five states, it was lower than the national average.
As for wheat, consumption was higher in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, and Maharashtra compared to the national average of 4.288 kg (rural) and 4.011 kg (urban); and lower in Odisha, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu. Rural areas in Gujarat and Jharkhand had lower rates than the national average, while urban areas had higher rates.
The main reason is a lower level of procurement than last year. To date, 187.89 lakh tonnes of wheat have been procured for the current rabi marketing season (RMS 2022-23), which is 56.65% less than the 433.44 lakh tonnes procured in the entire RMS 2021-22. In Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, the states that provide the bulk of the country’s food, this has been the trend.
Wheat stocks in the central pool have fallen to their lowest level in 14 years. The first day of June saw 311.42 lakh tonnes, the lowest since 241.23 lakh tonnes in 2008. The figure was 602.91 lakh metric tons on June 1 last year.
A stock of 275.80 lakh tonnes of foodgrains must be maintained every July 1 according to the Food Corporation of India’s stocking standards. The existing stock has been further depleted, despite the fact that the official figures have not yet been released.
Domestically, lower production is a major reason for the current situation. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare’s Third Advance Estimates of Foodgrain Production for 2021-22, wheat production will be 106.41 million tonnes, down from 110 million tonnes targeted and 109.59 million tonnes produced last year. As a result of a rise in temperatures in late March affecting crops, the government’s earlier estimate of 111.3 million tonnes was revised downward to 106.41 million tonnes. During the current rabi market season, about 75.4 lakh tonnes of wheat were procured with shrivelled grains.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted the supply of wheat, wheat prices have gone up globally. Aside from that, adverse weather has affected the wheat crop in several countries, including the European Union region, the United States, and Canada. In recent months, this has increased demand for Indian wheat in overseas markets.
A total of 45 lakh tonnes of wheat were contracted for export in 2022-23 until May 12, and 14.63 lakh tonnes were exported in April, up from 2.43 lakh tonnes in April 2021. The export of wheat flour (atta) also increased. As reported by the Food Ministry, 95,167 tonnes of atta were exported in April compared to 25,566 tonnes in the same month last year. Due to lower production and higher outside demand, domestic traders offered higher prices than the government’s minimum support price, and farmers sold their produce to private traders.
Wheat exports were banned by the government on May 13. In order to reduce prices, the move was intended to increase wheat availability in the domestic market.
Wheat, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, BJP, rice, National Food Security Act, NFSA, wheat-rice allocation ratio, Union Food Ministry, Food Secretary, Sudhanshu Pandey
A total of 67.21 % of India’s population is covered by the NFSA (75 % in rural India and 50 % in urban India). As of June 2, 79.73 crores (98.01%) of the 81.35 crores accepted (upper limit) beneficiaries had been identified.
A household with Antyodaya Anna Yojana eligibility is entitled to 35 kg of foodgrains per month; a household with Priority Status is entitled to 5 kg of foodgrains per month. A kilogram of rice costs Rs 3, a kilogram of wheat costs Rs 2, and a kilogram of coarse grains costs Rs 1.
The new Lockdown mode
A new security feature called Lockdown Mode will be available for iPhones, iPads, and Mac devices later this year. Can you tell me what it is and how it will work? This feature is being rolled out by Apple for what reason?
To make it harder for mercenary spyware organizations like Pegasus-maker NSO Labs to target and hack iPhone users, Apple has made a major change to iPhone security. Private cyber offensive companies have found zero-day flaws, allowing their clients – typically government agencies and authorities – to hack into the devices of journalists, activists, and dissidents.
Apple said in a blog post that these initiatives would “help protect users from some of the most sophisticated digital threats, such as state-sponsored spyware developed by private companies .”A number of spyware companies have been exposed in recent years for hacking into iPhones and Android devices.
Several governments around the world used the spyware in July 2021 to spy on opponents, journalists, businessmen, etc., according to a global consortium of media groups. There were several prominent names on the potential target list, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, political strategist Prashant Kishor, then Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, and now Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnav (who was not the minister then). A total of 40 journalists are listed on the list as well.
Aside from Lockdown Mode, Apple announced a $10 million grant, along with any damages awarded in the lawsuit filed against NSO Group, to support organizations that investigate, expose, and prevent highly targeted cyberattacks, including those created by private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware. In late 2022 or early 2023, the Ford Foundation expects to make its first grants from the Dignity, and Justice Fund established and advised by the Ford Foundation. In the beginning, the fund will fund approaches to expose mercenary spyware and protect potential targets.
Dolo under the lens
The manufacturer of Dolo-650, Micro Labs Ltd, is being investigated for suspected tax evasion. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, sales of Dolo-650 increased.
The Bengaluru-based pharmaceutical company Micro Labs Ltd, manufacturer of Dolo-650 tablets, is being investigated for tax evasion.
Financial records and statements of the company are being reviewed as part of the searches, officials said.
This medicine contains 650 mg of paracetamol, an antipyretic (fever is reduced), and an analgesic (pain relieving) drug.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, this medicine was widely used to reduce fever and pain.
Due to easy availability and doctors’ preference for Dolo-650 during the second wave, sales have increased.
“Crocin and Dolo are the most commonly prescribed paracetamol brands,” said Bhupendra Kumar, general secretary of the Indian Pharmacist Association. Crocin is more readily available in a 500 mg formulation, whereas Dolo is available in a 650 mg formulation. Doctors prescribed Dolo during the second wave because people had high fevers.”
Despite being a preferred prescription during the second wave, the brand has continued to be used without prescription.
As Kumar explained, “When a doctor writes one prescription, it is circulated on WhatsApp and used by ten people.”. As a result, Dolo became a household name, and people started using it to treat fevers, aches, and pains as well.”
Dolo-650’s easy accessibility and low cost contributed to this, according to Kanav Nangia, a Delhi-based drug stockist.
Throughout the pandemic, Crocin has not been easily available; there were periods when it wasn’t. A second option was Calpol, but it was more expensive than Dolo. “This is why Dolo became popular during the pandemic,” he said.
Dolo initially advertised itself as a prescription drug, as opposed to Crocin, and pushed sales through marketing to physicians. Everyone now knows about it and buys it,” an expert in the pharmaceutical industry said.
Gurpreet Sandhu, president of the Council for Healthcare and Pharma, added: “Dolo managed to cultivate its brand among doctors in the early days of the pandemic, and now it is reaping the benefits of that brand.”. There’s no doubt that it’s a highly effective and affordable medicine.
Since paracetamol is the safest medicine for fever that was prescribed to almost everyone with Covid-19, all brands of paracetamol increased in sales.
Between the second quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021, when India was experiencing the second wave of the pandemic, paracetamol’s total revenue increased by 138.42 percent.
According to market research firm AIOCD-AWACS, Dolo-650’s revenue increased by 289.6% during the same period.
Additionally, GlaxoSmithKline’s two popular paracetamol brands – Crocin and Calpol – increased their revenue by 53 percent and 158.9%, respectively. Based on the data, Sumo, a brand manufactured by Alkem laboratories, increased its revenue by 110.6 percent.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma