'Govt to implement end-to end computerisation of food supply'
Chennai: Government on Saturday said it has decided to implement end-to-end computerisation of food supply in cooperation with states as part of efforts to fine-tune the Public Distribution System in the country.
"To modernise the Public Distribution System, we have decided to have end-to-end modernisation. That is from the godowns of FCI to state ration shops, every movement will be computerised", Minister of State for Consumer Affairs,Food and Public Distribution, K V Thomas told reporters.
This is a 50:50 Joint Venture with states, with half the cost being given by the Centre and the balance being borne by the state governments, he said.
"Many state governments have started the modernisation process, including Tamil Nadu... They are going ahead (with the proposal)", he said.
Thomas pointed out that two crore bogus ration cards had been weeded out of the total of 20 crore since the modernisation process began.
The objective of the exercise was to enable subsidised food items reach the designated people as there were some loopholes in the present PDS system, he said.
"When we give one kilo of rice to a BPL family, my subsidy component is Rs 18 to Rs 19 in it. It should reach the designated people. That is why we want to modernise the PDS system. With cooperation of state governments we will be able to strengthen it", he said.
Thomas said the government is concerned over shortage of pulses and edible oil in PDS.
"What we are slightly worried is (supply) of pulses and edible oil. At the international level also, availability is slightly low. With this in mind, we have decided to continue supply of pulses and edible oil at subsidised rate", he said.
Thomas said in the last cabinet meeting, Government had approved supply of pulses to BPL families at a subsidised rate of Rs 10 and Rs 15 per litre for edible oil.
"We have decided to continue to offer them increased subsidy at Rs 20 instead of Rs 10", he said.
On wheat exports to Gulf countries like Iran, he said it was under the Open General Licence (OGL) Category.
"It (wheat exports) is under OGL and from the Central pool itself we have allowed export of about two to three lakh tonnes. That will go on for sometime until we feel that it has to be stopped", he said.
He said they are also not retracting the idea of giving food without subsidies.
"We are bound to give food to the poorer sections at subsidised rates. This is government policy. We are not retracting regarding the subsidy on food items. My subsidy to the food system alone is Rs 88,000 crore", he said.
On government's ambitious Food Security Bill, he said the Standing Committee would submit its report in a month or so.
"It is before the Standing Committee.Every State's opinion will be heard. What we propose is that it should get passed in the next winter session of Parliament", he said.
Thomas was here to inagurate the phase II building of the National Test House, Southern Region.