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Important Works of Food & Public Distribution Department In 2018

Such an arrangement is done for the first time under NFSA. Under TPDS, State Governments were required to either meet this expenditure on their own or pass it on to beneficiaries (other than AAY beneficiaries).

Tooba Maher

Following Are The Major Highlights of Activities of the Department of Food & Public Distribution In 2018: 

(A) Implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA): 

1.The Persistent efforts of NFSA, 2013 has resulted in universal implementation in all 36 States and UTs, benefiting 80.72 crore persons in the country by providing them access to highly subsidized food grains at Rs.1/2/3 per kg including coarse grains, wheat and rice.

2. The prices of food grains specified under NFSA is Rs.3 per kg for rice, Rs.2 per kg for wheat and Re.1 per kg for coarse grains were initially valid for a period of three years from coming into force of the NFSA. These rates were extended from time to time upto June, 2018 which are further extended upto June, 2019.

3. During the Financial Year 2018-19 (upto 05.12.2018), Rs. 2575 crore has been released to State Governments as Central assistance to meet the expenditure incurred on intra-State movement and handling of food grains and fair price shop dealers margins.

Such an arrangement is done for the first time under NFSA. Under TPDS, State Governments were required to either meet this expenditure on their own or pass it on to beneficiaries (other than AAY beneficiaries). 


(B) End-to-end Computerization of TPDS Operations: 

1. As an outcome of Digitization of Ration Card or beneficiary records, de-duplication due to Aadhaar seeding, transfer, migration, deaths, change in economic status of beneficiaries and during the run-up to and implementation of NFSA, a total of 2.75 Crore ration cards have been deleted or cancelled by State or UT Governments during the years 2013-2017 (up to November 2017). 

Therefore, the Government has been able to achieve an estimated ‘Rightful Targeting of Food Subsidies’ of about Rs. 17,500 Crore per annum. 

2. To modernize and bring about transparency in the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), the Department is implementing scheme on End-to-end Computerization of TPDS Operations at a total cost of 884 Crore on cost-sharing basis with the States or UTs. 

The Scheme provides for digitization of ration cards and beneficiary records, computerization of supply chain management, setting up of transparency portals and grievance redressal mechanisms. 

Key Achievements Under The Scheme: 

  • Digitization of ration cards / beneficiaries data which has been achieved in all states or UTs.

  • Online allocation of food grains. It is completed in all States/UTs. Except UTs of Chandigarh & Puducherry which have adopted DBT/Cash transfer Scheme.

  • Computerization of Supply Chain Management. It is completed in 25 States/UTs and the work is in progress in the remaining States/UTs.

  • Transparency portals have been set up in all States/UTs.

  • A grievance redressal facility has set up toll-free helpline or online registration facility in all States/UTs.

3. To identify and weed-out duplicate or ineligible beneficiaries and to enable rightful targeting of food subsidies, seeding of Aadhaar numbers of beneficiaries with their Ration Cards is being done by States and UTs. Presently, 85.61% of all ration cards have been seeded.

4. As part of the scheme, electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices are being installed at Fair Price Shops (FPSs) for distribution of foodgrains.

This is done by authentication and electronic record-keeping of the sale transactions. As on date, 3.61 lakh FPSs out of total 5.34 lakh FPSs have ePoS devices in 29 States or UTs. 

5. Intra-state Portability of Ration Cards:

Facilities enabling PDS beneficiaries to lift their entitled food grains from any fair price shop in the State has been started fully in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tripura, Kerala and partially in Madhya Pradesh. 

6. ‘Integrated Management of PDS’ (IM-PDS):

A new Central Sector Scheme has been approved to be implemented during FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20 for establishing Public Distribution System Network (PDSN) to implement national level portability, central data repository and central monitoring system of PDS operations. 

7. Launch ofePoS transactions portal: 

Annavitran Portal (www.annavitran.nic.in) has been implemented to display electronic transactions made through ePoS devices for distribution of subsidized foodg rains to beneficiaries.  

This portal also shows all India picture of Aadhaar authentication of beneficiaries besides allocated and distributed quantity of food grains up to district level. 

(C) Supporting the Farmer 

During KMS 2017-18, a record quantity of 381.84 Lakh MT paddy (in terms of rice) was procured. In 2016-17 KMS it was 381.07 LMT. 

During RMS 2018-19, a quantity of 357.95 lakh MT of wheat was procured which is highest in last five years. In RMS 2017-18 this was 308.24 LMT. 

(D) Improving Food Grain Management 

About 40 million tonnes of food grains are transported by FCI across the country in a year. Movement of food grain is undertaken by rail, road, sea, coastal and riverine systems. In2017-18, FCI has moved 134 container rakes against the target of 100 leading to approx. freight savings of Rs. 662 lakhs.During 2018-19, 77 rakes have been moved (as on 15.10.2018) which led to approx. freight savings of Rs. 352 lakhs. 

(E) Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) 

1. The process of registration of warehouses with WDRA has been simplified. New rules will promote increase in the number of warehouses registered with WDRA.  

This would enhance facility of pledge finance for the farmers through Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (NWR) system. During the year Rs. 51.45 crore loans have been availed against NWRs upto 31.10.2018. 

2. Electronic Negotiable Warehousing Receipt (eNWR) System and WDRA Portal has been launched to transform the process of registration of warehouses online and to issue e-NWR instead of paper-NWR which will be a more credible financing tool. 

(F) Sugar Sector 

Due to surplus sugar production and depressed ex-mill prices of sugar the liquidity position of sugar mills was adversely affected leading to accumulation of cane price dues which reached to an alarming level of about Rs.23,232 crore in the last week of May, 2018.  

To improve the liquidity position of sugar mills and enabling them to clear sugarcane price arrears of farmers the government has taken following measures. 

1. In order to prevent cash loss and to facilitate sugar mills to clear cane dues of farmers in time, the Government has fixed a minimum selling price of sugar at Rs.29/kg for sale at factory gate in domestic market, below which no sugar mill can sell sugar. 

2. Extending Assistance to sugar mills at Rs.5.50/quintal of cane crushed for sugar season 2017-18 to offset the cost of cane amounting to about Rs.1540 crore. 

3. Created buffer stock of 30 LMT in sugar season 2017-18 for which Government will reimburse carrying cost of Rs.1175 crore towards maintenance of buffer stock. 

4. Extending soft loans of Rs. 6139 crore through banks to the mills for setting up new distilleries and installation of incineration boilers to augment ethanol production capacity for which Government will bear interest subvention of Rs. 1332 crore. 

5. Extending Assistance to sugar mills at Rs.13.88/quintal of cane crushed for sugar season 2018-19 to offset the cost of cane amounting to about Rs.4163 crore. 

6. Extending Assistance to sugar mills for defraying expenditure towards internal transport, freight, handling and other charges to facilitate export of sugar from the country in sugar season 2018-19 amounting to about Rs. 1375 crore. 

7. Government has also notified new National Policy on Bio-Fuels, 2018 under which sugarcane juice has been allowed for production of ethanol. Further, the Government has fixed remunerative price of ethanol produced from C-Heavy molasses and B-Heavy molasses/sugarcane juice separately for supply under EBP during ethanol season 2018-19. 

Important Information: 

As a result of above measures, all India sugarcane price arrears of farmers have also came down to Rs. 5465 crore from the peak arrears of about Rs. 23232 crore on State Advised Price (SAP) basis for sugar season 2017-18.  

According to FRP basis, all India sugarcane price arrears of farmers have come down to Rs.1924 crore from the peak arrears of about Rs.14538 crore. 

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