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Movement plays a very important role in the working of FCI as well as in fulfilling the objectives of Food Policy and National Food Security Act.

FCI undertakes movement of foodgrains in order to: 

  • Evacuate stocks from surplus regions
  • Meet the requirements of deficit regions for NFSA/ TPDS and Other Schemes
  • Create buffer stocks in deficit regions 

Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh are the surplus States in terms of wheat procurement vis-a-vis their own consumption. Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh/ Telengana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha are surplus States in terms of rice procurement vis-à-vis their own consumption. Surplus stocks of wheat and rice available in these States are moved to deficit States to meet the requirements under NFSA/ TPDS and other schemes as well as to create buffer stocks. 

On an average 42 to 45 million tonnes of foodgrains are transported by FCI across the country in a year. FCI undertakes massive movement operation of foodgrains all over the country encompassing around 2297 FCI owned & hired depots/Slios, 550 plus rail-heads (owned by Indian Railways and others) and 97 FCI own sidings. 

Movement Plan is prepared on monthly basis keeping in view: 

  • Quantity available in surplus regions
  • Quantity required by deficit regions
  • Likely procurement
  • Vacant storage capacity both in consuming as well as procuring regions
  • Monthly allotment/ off take of foodgrains 

Mode of Transportation 

Movement of foodgrains is undertaken by Rail, Road and Waterways. Around 80% of stocks are moved by rail to different parts of the country. Inter-State movement by road is mainly undertaken in those parts of the country which are not connected by rail. A small quantity is also moved by ocean vessels to Lakshadweep and A&N Islands as well as through coastal shipping to Kerala. 

FCI has 99 own Rail sidings, where foodgrain rakes are placed directly at FCI depots. Other than that, foodgrain stocks are transported ‘to and fro’ from the nearest rail-heads of Indian Railways.

Other Initiative in Movement of Foodgrains  

Coastal & Riverine Movement:

FCI, as a pro-active measure has also explored the movement of food grains through multimodal costal/ riverine mode so as to supplement rail/road movement. FCI is already moving foodgrains to Andaman & Lakshadweep using coastal mode but the same is in meagre quantity. From 2013-14 to 2020-21, 3.02 LMT foodgrains have been moved through multimodal costal/ riverine mode to Kerala/ Agartala (Tripura). 

Containerized Movement:

FCI has initiated containerized movement of foodgrains on certain routes through CONCOR/ Associates wherein it is found to be economical in comparison to conventional Railway rakes. From, 2016-17 to 2020-21, 919 such container rakes have been moved with approx. freight savings of Rs. 26.83 crores.


FCI is effectively optimizing movement in association with Railways, while minimizing cost. Demurrage and Wharfage were brought down from Rs. 195.73 Cr in 2012-13 to Rs. 46.17 Cr in 2020-21. No. of Rebooking(s)/ Diversion(s) have been reduced from 904 rakes (Rs 77.97 Cr) in 2012-13 to 7 rakes in 2020-21 (Rs 0.32 Cr). The Demurrage per MT has been reduced from Rs. 25.10/ MT in 2012-13 to Rs. 4.66/MT in 2020-21.