New Delhi | 15 May 2017
While presenting the progress report of three years of his ministry today, the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan worryingly said, “The buffer stock of pulses created to maintain availability and check the prices of pulses has now become a problem due to crash in their prices”.
When asked about the procurement of pulses from Mozambique under the agreement signed when Prime Minister Modi had visited the country, Paswan said, “first it is significant to procure pulses from domestic farmers as record production of pulses has resulted in sharp dip in pulses prices across the country”.
However, to tackle the situation of surplus and price crash, the substantial quantity from buffer stock would be supplied to Para-military and Defence forces. The supplies to state governments will be as per their requirements under PDS and other such schemes.
India has created buffer stock of up to 20 lakh MT of pulses created through the Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) scheme of the Department of Consumer Affairs with the objective of managing price volatility of pulses for consumers.
Minister also said that interests of farmers and consumers are high on the agenda of the Government, and a number of initiatives have been taken in the three years to make food grain management more efficient and to ensure food security in the country.
Paswan also said that the public distribution system is undergoing a revamp. He informed, “Automation of Fair Price Shops is being done to reform Public Distribution System. The Ministry is working continuously towards Aadhar Seeding in PDS to weed out duplicate ration cards and to enable rightful targeting”. He further said, “17.99 crore ration cards as on 15th May 2017 have been Aadhar seeded”.
The Ministry has approved the plan to create steel silos for wheat and rice with 100 lakh MT storage capacity. The capacity will be constructed by Food Corporation of India and other agencies including those of state governments under Public Private Partnership scheme in three phases upto 2019-20.
Minister Ram Vilas Paswan also told that the 510 depots of FCI are now connected to the depot online system to check leakages and automate operations at depot level.
He also, informed about FCI’s five-year action plan for procurement of paddy in Uttar Pradesh (with focus on Eastern UP), Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal & Assam to check the distress sale of paddy by farmers. On sugar cane arrears, Paswan said that they have come down to Rs 7,500 crore out of the outstanding Rs 54,000 crore during the 2016-17 cane season which is from October-September.