State-run FCI had floated a tender on April 24 inviting bids for short term loan. The tender closed on April 30.

According to sources, FCI has raised Rs 20,000 crore short term loans to meet its working capital requirements.

The loans were raised from around 20 banks at interest rates in the range of 10.19-10.25 per cent, they added.

"To meet its short term fund requirement for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, the corporation is considering raising short term loans from the scheduled banks only for 90 days tenure on unsecured basis," FCI had said in the tender. At present, wheat procurement is being undertaken in full swing particularly from Punjab and Haryana.

FCI, the nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, is facing a huge liquidity crunch due to delay in payment of food subsidy by the Centre.

It had food subsidy dues of around Rs 50,000 crore at the end of 2013-14 fiscal.

In April first week, the corporation had written to the Food Ministry informing about its financial crunch, sources said.

The government provided Rs 75,500.02 crore as subsidy to FCI for last fiscal, while the actual subsidy stood at Rs 1,03,791.85 crore. The total subsidy arrears, including those carried over from the previous years, have mounted to about Rs 50,000 crore.

Apart from short-term loans, FCI has a cash credit limit of Rs 54,495 crore, which it can avail from the consortium of 62 banks against foodgrains stocks lying in its godowns.

During last fiscal, FCI had raised Rs 8,000 crore from the market via long term bonds.

FCI's arrears have risen sharply in the last few years due to increase in the minimum support prices (MSP) for wheat and rice as well as high procurement, storage and distribution costs.

The costs of MSP, procurement storage and distribution for wheat and rice were Rs 1,494.35 per quintal and Rs 1,983.11 per quintal respectively in 2010-11.

They have gone up to Rs 1,932.39 per quintal and Rs 2,638.54 per quintal respectively in 2013-14.

(Agencies)

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