Mumbai: Conceding that there was a sizeable
percentage diversion of commodities in the Public Distribution
System for Above Poverty Line (APL) category, Union Minister
of State for Public Distribution K V Thomas has advocated for
modernisation as a solution.
"There is about 70 per cent leakage in PDS for APL
beneficiaries across the country," Thomas told reporters here.
He suggested states use global positioning system to
track down the transportation, biometric system to identify
beneficiaries and replace old ration cards with `smart cards`.
He also asked state governments to seek help of
Unique Identification Authority of India (UID) and National
Informatics Centre (NIC).
The minister was in the city to review the PDS in the
western zone: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and
On controlling prices of essential commodities, Thomas
said, "The onus is on the state governments. However, we will
intervene if necessary."
The Centre is likely to start two pilot projects to help
farmers send produce directly to markets in the big cities,
Decision to allow export of sugar was likely to be taken
in a couple of days, he said.
The minister said the Centre was aiming to boost food
grains storage capacity by 17 million tonnes in the next two
years and would also welcome private sector in this endeavour.