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Editorial of the Day (27th Feb): New Grain Storage Plan

Context: Recently, PM Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector.

Expansion of Grain Storage Capacity

  • Infrastructure Enhancement: A large-scale project to nearly double the country’s grain storage capacity.
    • The plan involves setting up ultra-modern storage facilities across cooperative sectors, targeting a significant increase in capacity over five years.
  • Capacity Goals:
    • The initiative aims to enhance storage by 700 lakh metric tons.
    • Currently, the Food Corporation of India has a storage capacity of 361.62 lakh tons, with state governments adding another 400.74 lakh tons.

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Economic and Operational Impact

  • Cost Reduction and Price Stabilization: This expansion is expected to reduce waste from a lack of infrastructure and stabilise prices by releasing grain during times of surplus.
  • Cooperative Movement Strengthening: The plan includes strengthening cooperative societies and primary agricultural credit societies (PACS). The Union Budget 2023-24 has proposed digitization and modernization of 63,000 PACS with substantial financial backing.

Financial Inclusivity and Profitability

  • Credit Accessibility: A report from the Reserve Bank of India highlighted the role of these cooperative societies in credit distribution, noting the presence of 13.7 crore members and 5.4 crore borrowers. Most PACS are profitable, with around 60% of lending district central cooperative banks sharing these successes.

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