Business & Economy

State Food Ministers to meet on Feb 8-9 to discuss PDS reforms

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, February 6, 2012

The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has convened a meeting of State Food and Agricultre Ministers here on February 8-9 to discuss refors in the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Improvement in Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), procurement of foodgrains and enhancement of storage capacity in view of the National Food Security Act are also on the agenda of the two-day meeting, an official press release said here today.
The conference will be inaugurated by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and addressed by, among others, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister K V Thomas.
Senior officials of various Central ministries and State Governments, Planning Commission and the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will also participate in the discussions.
The release said the issues of additional requirement of foodgrain production, procurement, required storage capacity and quality control would be discussed in detail with the respective stakeholders during the meeting. 
It said the Government was working on improving procurement infrastructure and optimization of storage and transportation cost and losses. It is also considering committed transportation system for speedy movement of foodgrains to consuming states from procurement centres. 
Direct payments to the farmers to encourage procurement is also being adopted. State Governments will be requested to identify steps to further strengthen these efforts during the discussions, it said.
According to the release, the Government has launched computerization of PDS end to end. Some pilot projects have already been completed successfully and in some States significant progress has been made in issuing of biometric cards, identification of beneficiaries for various categories and elimination of bogus ration cards. The conference will discuss further strengthening these efforts and linking it with UIDAI, it said.
Senior officials from Ministry of Women & Child Development, Ministry of Rural Development, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Department of School Education and Literacy, Department of Economic Affairs, National Advisory Council and Planning Commission will also make presentations during the conference, the release added.