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English Release 30-January 2015
Date Month Year
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Previous Date

 
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution26-November, 2012 16:02 IST
Improvement in Distribution System
A report has been brought out in October 2012 by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, (UN-ESCAP) regarding ‘Regional Cooperation for Inclusive and Sustainable Development: South and South-West Asia Development Report, 2012–13’. Amongst various issues, the report discusses food security and sustainable agriculture in South and South-West Asia.

The report inter-alia mentions that rising food prices during 2010-11 may have kept 8 million people from exiting poverty in India. The report also mentions that food prices have increased due to various factors like pressure on agriculture sector, increase in population, rising consumption, increasing cost of fertilizers, competition for arable land and water sources, etc.

This Ministry on its part has been taking several steps to contain price rise in essential commodities, which includes reduction of import duties on wheat, onion, pulses, edible oils, sugar etc.; ban on export of edible oils and certain pulses; imposing stock limits from time to time in case of select essential commodities; maintaining the Central Issue Price under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) for rice (at Rs.5.65 per kg. for Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Rs.3 per kg. for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and wheat (at Rs.4.15 per kg. for BPL and Rs.2 per kg for AAY), suspending futures trading in specified commodities; restoring levy obligation @10% on sugar factories for 2011-12 season; allocation of rice and wheat under Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) and resumption of the scheme for subsidised imported pulses through PDS, which includes a subsidy element to be paid to the designated importing agencies.

The report also makes a comparison of food production versus consumption in the 10 South and South-West Asian countries including India. Using the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)’s data regarding food production in terms of calories per person per day and the estimated dietary requirements, the report suggests that the caloric content of food production far outweighs the dietary requirements. Based on this, the report states that the root cause of hunger is not the lack of food but the economic and social distribution of food.

In June, 1997, the Government launched the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) with a view to successfully target poor sections of society for distribution of foodgrains. Under TPDS, Government allocates foodgrains (wheat and rice) to States/UTs @ 35 kg per family per month to the accepted number of 6.52 crore BPL families, including about 2.43 crore Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families. Considering the availability of foodgrains in Central pool and past offtake, allocation is also presently being made for Above Poverty Line (APL) families between 15 kg and 35 kg per family per month.

Further, strengthening and streamlining of the TPDS is a continuous process. To improve functioning of TPDS, Government has been regularly requesting State/UT Governments for continuous review of lists of BPL and AAY families, ensuring timely availability of foodgrains at Fair Price Shops (FPSs), ensuring greater transparency in functioning of TPDS, improved monitoring and vigilance at various levels, adoption of revised Model Citizen’s Charter, and introduction of new technologies such as Computerisation of TPDS operations at various levels and improving the efficiency of FPS operations.

This information was given by the Minister of State (IC) for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Prof. K.V.Thomas in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

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