Govt’s Initiatives to Make Food Grain Distribution System More Effective
The Central Government distributes food grains through the Public Distribution System. The Public Distribution System (PDS) is a food security system that was created as a way to deal with scarcity by distributing food grains at low costs. The PDS is managed jointly by the central and state governments. Wheat, rice, sugar, and kerosene are among the commodities currently allotted to States/UTs for distribution under the PDS. Pulses, edible oils, iodized salt, spices, and other mass-market goods are also available through PDS stores in a number of states and UTs. The Public Distribution System (PDS) of India is the world’s biggest distribution network. The PDS was created as a rationing system during World War II. PDS has grown tremendously since the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013, which established the Right to Food as a legal right by giving subsidized food grains to roughly two-thirds of the population. The country’s Public Distribution System (PDS) promotes the provision of food grains and the distribution of vital goods to a significant number of needy people on a recurring basis through a network of Fair Price Shops.
Steps were taken by Govt. to improve the food grain distribution system:
1. Fair Price Shops Automated:
There were 505,879 fair pricing stores (FPS) in India as of 2011. Under the PDS system, each household living below the poverty line is entitled to 35 kilograms of rice or wheat each month. A household above the poverty level, on the other hand, is entitled to 15 kg of food grain each month. Ration stores, which are part of the PDS system, assist the public in maintaining their nutritional condition by providing low-cost food to the poor.
2. Direct Benefit Transfer:
The fundamental goal of this Direct Benefit Transfer scheme is to introduce transparency to the distribution of monies sponsored by the Indian government and to eliminate pilferage. Benefits or subsidies will be immediately allocated to citizens who are below the poverty threshold under DBT. As a result, the government sends the monies straight to the recipient. The funds will be sent immediately to the beneficiary’s bank account. The identity of the recipient can be improved with the use of the Aadhaar number.
3. Set-up of the Food Corporation of India (FCI):
It was established under the Food Corporations Act of 1964, in the vanguard of India’s drive for rice and wheat self-sufficiency following the Green Revolution, managing grain acquisition and storage for a massive Public Distribution System (PDS). As a result, it has played a key role in guaranteeing India’s food security and has provided a lifeline to millions of the country’s most disadvantaged people.
4. End to end computerization:
The Department of Food and Public Distribution implemented the ‘End-to-end computerization of TPDS Operations‘ scheme as part of the PDS reforms to improve the efficiency and transparency of the food grain distribution system, food grain leakages and diversion, the elimination of fake and bogus ration cards, and so on.
5. Online Depot system:
This will offer comprehensive transparency to FCI’s operations by capturing data online in real-time. It would aid in improved monitoring and oversight, resulting in fewer leaks and losses. On-line data on stock position, movement, quality, and quantity will be provided via the system. It will send SMS notifications to depot officials, area managers, and other decision-makers.
6. Supporting Farmers:
FCI has made specific procurement efforts in India’s Eastern states, where there have been repeated reports of paddy distress sales and an inadequate procurement system.
7. Minimum support price:
The notion of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system provides farmers with security by ensuring that their crops are paid the correct price for their goods and by assisting them in sustaining their losses without having a significant impact. Aids the government in controlling the growth of low-yielding crops. The existence of a minimum support price (MSP) has encouraged farmers to move acreage from coarse grain cultivation to rice and wheat production, hence discouraging crop diversification.
8. GPS Technology:
The use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to track the passage of vehicles transporting food grains from state warehouses to the FPS has begun. This may aid in the prevention of food grain diversion.
9. SMS Notifications:
It allows citizens to monitor the situation. Beneficiaries can register their cell phones and send/receive SMS notifications when PDS supplies are dispatched or arrive.
10. Technology for biometric identification:
Biometric technology enables a reliable, scalable, and interoperable platform for the equitable distribution of food grains to worthy households/beneficiaries. As a result, seeding Aadhaar cards helps to prevent ineligible people from obtaining fake/bogus ration cards, providing transparency. The government must deliver public welfare services in a fair and non-intrusive manner in order for the righteous beneficiaries to get benefits.
11. Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS):
The Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was established in June 1992 with the goal of strengthening and streamlining the PDS while also expanding its reach into far-flung, mountainous, lonely, and inaccessible areas where a significant portion of the poor dwell for distribution through PDS outlets. It has aided in the stabilization of food prices and the provision of inexpensive food to the underprivileged. It keeps a buffer supply of food grains in the warehouse so that the food flow may continue even when agricultural food output is low. The RPDS is one of the efforts taken by the Indian government to maintain food security.
12. One Nation One Ration Card:
The government introduced the One Nation One Ration Card to give all qualified ration cards and beneficiaries covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013 the option of accessing their benefits from anywhere in India. Through an existing ration card with biometric or Aadhaar identification, any NFSA beneficiaries/ration cardholders, including migrant NFSA beneficiaries/ration cardholders, can claim the entirety or a portion of their food grains from any FPS around the country.
Food security is a prerequisite for progress. As a result, the government has made efforts to improve the efficiency of the food grain distribution system. PDS is also one of the government’s greatest social programs, assisting farmers in selling their output at a profit and allowing the poorest members of society to purchase food grains at discounted costs. The government’s reform efforts are progressing in the correct direction, but they may be bolstered by increasing public engagement through social audits and participation of SHGs, cooperatives, and NGOs in assuring the PDS system’s openness on the ground.
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