Srinagar, June 18 (GNS): Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) Department, Ch. Zulfkar Ali today informed the House that newly launched National Food Security Act (NFSA) is providing highly subsidized ration to 95 per cent of the population in the State.
Winding up the Discussion on Demand of Grants for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) Department, the Minister said that with the implementation of NFSA, more than 20 lakh left out beneficiaries have been included under Public Distribution System (PDS) in the state. He said that the Act covers around 74.13 lakh under Priority, while as 45 lakh are covered under ‘Non-Priority’, making the total to 119.13 lakh soul as against 99 lakh souls previously.
“From the uneven food distribution system, State shall be moving to highly targeted PDS on even basis,” the Minster informed the House. “The food grains will be provided as a matter of Right and in case food grains are not provided, there is provision of Food Security Allowance.”
The Minister said that NFSA provides uniform scale of ration @ 5 kg per soul across the state excepting AAY category where 35 Kgs scale irrespective of soul strength is being maintained.
“It is in the interest of States economy as we have to procure 7.51 lac MTs of ration at very subsidized price,” he said. “Poorest among the poor is more beneficial under the Act.”
The Minister said that the Government of India will reimburse 75 per cent of the transportation cost and the states have to bear 25 per cent of it.
Highlighting the challenges of the Department, the Minister said that the state is a Consuming and not Producing state. He said that there is a huge deficit of foodgrains that has to be met from outside the state.
“With the decrease in agricultural landholding and production, 90 per cent of the population in the state depends on Government Supplies,” he said, adding that department faces various challenges including poor transportation mechanism, poor loading at the FCI godowns, pilferage of food grains, poor road connectivity particularly in hilly and snow bound areas.
Recalling the Pre-NFSA scenario, the Minister said that State was provided ration on the basis of projected population of the year 2000, which left 1.70 lac families uncovered. “Due to increase in population from 2001 to 2011, about 20 lakh souls had been added who were not covered under any Targeted Public Distribution System,” he said.
Giving credit to late Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, for reaching out to the people at the grassroots level, the Minister said that the Launch of ‘Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme’ (MMSFES) is a visionary step of the current Government. “With the implementation of MMSFES, the State shall be able to provide additional 05 kg of foodgrains per soul over and above the NFSA scale to BPL (PHH), PHH and NPHH bonafide rationees having family size from one to six subject to maximum of 35 kgs per family,” he said.
The Minister said that the Government has taken various steps to check pilferage in the public distribution system.
“In view of alleged reports regarding pilferage of Food grains, adulteration of Food grains in FCI/CAPD Stores and in order to have a check on pilferage and adulteration, the lifting of 40% Food grains directly from FCI has been stopped,” the Minister said. The Department has directed lifting of 100% food grains from the FCI Godowns from the state to stock directly in the food godowns of the districts for onwards distribution. This will check the pilferage and ensure quality Food grains, he further added.
The Minister said that the Department has completed digitization of majority of records and also created e-Ration Tickets.
The Minister said that various initiatives have been launched like printing of 3 types of Ration Cards to avoid misappropriation of PDS ration, besides CCTV Cameras/IP cameras have been installed in major godowns in the state to keep surveillance on PDS and payment on account of carriage, commission, handling charges and transportation charges.
The Minister said the Department is striving hard to bring in transparency in the distribution of food grains and weed out bogus and fake Ration Cards/beneficiaries so that food grains do not get pilfered and black marketed.
He said that for this purpose online supply Chain Management, online allocation of food grains and online grievance Redressal mechanism are being put into place adding that these will come into force with the implementation of “End to End Computerization of TPDS Operations.”
He said that e-PDS project costing Rs 20 Crore has been introduced to check pilferage, diversion of food grains and to ensure that food grains reached the desired destinations well in time.
The Minister said that Government will soon open new fair price shops across the State that would generate new avenues of employment for youth. He said in order to lessen the burden on the existing Sale outlets/FPS, Department is going to open 2700 new FP Shops for which policy is being formulated.
With regards to Legal Metrology Department, the Minister said that the Center has in principle agreed to provide funds for setting up of 11 labs during 12th Five year plan. The labs are meant to maintain and ensure the accuracy in weighing and measuring instruments used by commercial establishments.
Later, the House passed the grants of Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution Department, for the year 2016-17, which were moved by the Minister, amounting to Rs 769.48 crore with voice vote.
The members who took part in the debate discussion on the grants include Ch. Qamar Hussain, Dr. Krishen Lal, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, Mubarak Gul, Asgar Ali Karbalaie, Er. Abdul Rashid, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Vikar Rasool Wani, Daleep Singh Parihar, Raja Manzoor, Pawan Gupta, Ravinder Raina, Ishfaq Jabbar, B. A. Dar, G. M. Saroori, Yawar Mir, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Daldian Namgyal, Shakti Raj Parihar, Shah Mohammad Tantray, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, Usman Abdul Majid, Aijaz Ahmed Mir, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Jeewan Lal, Noor Mohammad Sheikh, Ajaz Ahmed Khan, Mohammad Khalil Bandh, Davinder Kumar Maniyal and Kuldeep Raj.
Earlier, the members, who moved the Cut Motions on the Grants, withdrew after the satisfactory reply from the Minister. (GNS)