Twenty-five states yet to meet Food Security Act requirements
The Dollar Business Bureau The Government of India is currently examining the recommendations made by the Committee on Food Corporation of India, with regard to the distribution of food grains under Public Distribution System. This was informed by Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, GoI, to the Rajya Sabha on Friday. As per the recommendations by the Shanta Kumar Committee, the government is expected to defer the implementation of the National Food Secutiry Act (NFSA) in the States those have not completed the preparatory methods that are required for the implementation of the Act. According to the Minister, all the States/Union Territories are required to complete the preparatory methods and will have to certify their preparedness for having the scheme implemented in their regions. Based on these recommendations, the allocation of food grains, under the Act, has been allowed to the 11 States on the basis of preparedness and identification of beneficiaries reported by them. However, there are 25 States that have not completed all the preparatory measures required for implementation of the NFSA, said the Minister. The States include Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, among others. In this regard, based on the recommendations of the Committee, the government intends to defer the NFSA implementation in the States those have not met the requirements. The requirements as mandated by the Committee for the States to have NFSA implemented, include end to end computerization of the list of beneficiaries, setting up of vigilance committees to check the public distribution system (PDS) suitability, among others. The government’s stand over the issue states that the NFSA implementation is already in force and there is no further proposal for amendments for the Act. As per the Committee, the government is expected to reduce food grain coverage from 67% of population to 40% in case of the States not fulfilling the NFSA requirements. The Minister further informed about the government’s moves to control the prices of food items. In this regard, the States have been advised to allow free movement of fruits and vegetables by delisting them from the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, says the Minister, said the Minister. Further, the government is also under efforts to reduce the intermediaries in the agri business and for this purpose, the States have also been advised to exempt levy fee on the market fee of the fruits and vegetables. This would allow the establishment of KisanMandis/ Farmers markets, where farm producers and the related organizations can directly market their products to wholesalers, organized retailers and consumers, the Minister added. Under a similar move, the State governments have also been advised to take action against hoarding & black marketing and effectively enforce the related Acts like Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980, among others, the Minister added.
May 8, 2015 | 6:58 pm IST.