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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution
23-December-2016 14:53 IST
Achievements & Initiatives taken by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution during 2016

Completion of implementation of National Food Security Act, 2013 in all States/UTs of the country

Major reforms in automation of the Public Distribution System (PDS)

Sustained efforts bring the cane price arrears down to Rs. 510 crore

New provisions to promote quality products & services and to boost consumer protection

Buffer stock of about 6.95 lakh tonnes of pulses built under Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) scheme

 

            Shri Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution held a Press Conference today to brief about the initiatives and reforms done by his Ministry during the year 2016. Shri Paswan said that the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution achieved significant mile stones during the year 2016.

 

 

Implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) & Reforms under TPDS

Shri Paswan said that the Government of India has been actively pursuing with all the States/UTs for early implementation of National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).  This has yielded results and the Act is now being implemented in all the States/UTs and covers about 80 crore persons for receiving highly subsidized food grains. 

Sustained efforts have resulted in significant reforms in TPDS making it more transparent and leak proof with better targeting of food subsidy.  As a result thereof, 100% of ration cards have been digitized while 71.13%  have been Aadhaar seeded.  Online allocation of food grains has started in 29 States/UTs, Supply chain has been computerized in 19 States/UTs and 1,76,834 Fair Price Shops (FPS) have been automated by installing ‘Point of Sale’ devices.  6 States have now automated all their FPSs.   

            Shi Paswan informed that Direct Cash Transfer of food subsidy to the beneficiaries has been started in 3 UTs namely Chandigarh, Puducherry w.e.f. 1.9.2015 and in Dadra & Nagar Haveli (in urban areas) w.e.f. 1.3.2016.  Total beneficiaries covered under the scheme are 9.14 lakh and total amount of funds transferred is Rs. 11.98 crore per month. 

 

Supporting the Farmers

            Procurement Operations: Shri Paswan highlighted that the main objectives of food management are procurement of food grains from farmers at remunerative prices, distribution of food grains to consumers, particularly the vulnerable sections of society at affordable prices and maintenance of buffer stock for food security and price stability.  The Central Government extends price support to paddy, coarse grains and wheat through the FCI and State Agencies.  All the food grains conforming to the prescribed specifications offered for sale at specified centres are bought by the public procurement agencies at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) inclusive of bonus announced, if any.  The farmers have the option to sell their produce to FCI/State Agencies at MSP or in the open market as is advantageous to them.  Procurement at MSP is therefore open ended. 

            In Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2016-17, a quantity of 229.32 Lakh MT of wheat has been procured.

            For the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2015-16 (October, 2015-September 2016), 342.19 Lakh tons of paddy in terms of rice has been procured.  In KMS 2016-17, 178.29 LMT of paddy in terms of rice has been procured till 13.12.2016. 

            FCI has started procurement of pulses from farmers at market price under Price Stabilisation Fund operation.  FCI, during on-going KMS 2016-17 has procured around 22542.85 MT of Moong and 9183.56 MT of Urad as on 28.11.2016. 

 

Sugar Sector

            The condition of sugar sector in terms of its financial health was critical when the present Government took over in May, 2014.  The surplus sugar production over the earlier 3 sugar seasons had led to subdued sugar prices; stressing the liquidity position of the industry throughout the country which led to build up of huge cane price arrears.  The peak cane price arrears for 2014-15 sugar season on all India level reached at Rs. 22,000 crore in April, 2015.  To mitigate the situation, Government took a number of measures like providing financial assistance of Rs. 413 crore through raw sugar export incentive scheme, financial assistance of Rs. 4305 crore under soft loan scheme, facilitating supply of ethanol under Ethanol Blended with Petrol Programme (EBP) by fixing remunerative price, providing performance based production subsidy etc.  Due to these measures, 99.33% of cane dues payments of farmers for 2014-15 sugar season and 98% (on FRP-basis) for 2015-16 sugar season have been cleared. 

 

Stock Position

            Shri Paswan said that sufficient food grains are available in Central Pool Stocks of FCI.  Stocks as on 1.12.2016 are 275.55 lakh MT (LMT), comprising 164.96 LMT wheat and 110.59 LMT rice which is more than adequate for Government welfare schemes as well as needs of PDS and other buffer stocking. 

 

Improving Food Grains Management

            To bring all operations of FCI godowns online and to check leakage and automate operations at the depot level, ‘Depot Online’ system has been launched in 31 Depots on pilot basis across 27 States on 17th March 2016.  As on 30.11.2016, this system has been implemented in 494 depots. 

            The Union Minister further stated that FCI has developed a software for Online Procurement Management System (OPMS) which is being used for procurement in the KMS 2016-17.  12 major procuring States are now using OPMS for MSP procurement operations.  3 other States are partially implementing OPMS. 

            States are being encouraged to take up Decentralized Procurement System (DCP) for food grains.  As on date 12 States are fully DCP States. 

 

Other Achievements in FCI

            Defined Contribution Pension Scheme and Post Retirement Medical Scheme for serving/retired employees of FCI have been implemented.   

 

The Union Minister further stated that state-wise 5-year Action Plans have been drawn up by FCI with focus on Eastern India (U.P, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal & Assam). FCI started procurement of pulses from farmers at market price under Price Stabilisation Fund operation. To bring all operations of FCI Godowns online and to check leakage and automate operations at the depot level, “Depot Online” system has been implemented in 494 depots across 27 States. Due to sustain efforts to facilitate payment of sugar cane arrears to the farmers came down to Rs. 510 crore as on 03.12.2016 from 2014-15, which was Rs. 21,837 crore at peak in April, 2015.

 

Buffer stock, Price Monitoring & Direct Selling

            Shri Paswan highlighted that buffer stock of about 6.95 lakh tonnes of pulses built under Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) scheme of the Department utilizing budgetary allocation as well as on credit through designated agencies including MMTC, NAFED, FCI, SFAC and STC. Subsidized unmilled pulses from the buffer stock is being offered to States/Agencies for direct distribution to public/consumer at a reasonable rates. 14 new price reporting centres from different States were added to improve the coverage and representativeness of data. An Advisory to State Governments/UTs containing Model Guidelines on Direct Selling was issued on 12th September, 2016. Direct Selling entities were asked to submit a declaration to Department of Consumer Affairs in compliance with the guidelines. Department of Consumer Affairs has launched an Integrated Grievance Redress Mechanism (INGRAM) portal for bringing all stakeholders such as consumers, Central and State Government Agencies, private companies, regulators on to a single platform for implementation in a phased manner.

            Sh. C.R. Chaudhary, Minister of State for Consumer Affaris, Food and Public Distribution and Sh. Hem Pande, Secretary, Consumer Affairs including senior officials of the Ministry were also present on this occasion.

 

AK