New Delhi, India.
Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shri Ram Vilas Paswan held a review meeting with State/UTs Food & Public Distribution Ministers and Food Secretaries in a video conference here today. Shri Paswan reviewed implementation of major schemes of the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DoFPD) in States/UTs in time of COVID-19 pandemic.The Food Ministers from various states across the country expressed their gratitude to the Prime Minister and the Union Minister for food and public distribution for the aid provided by the Centre, FCI and NAFED in respect of food grains and pulses provided under the AtmaNirbhar package and the PMGKAY. The States in the hill areas, the northeast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands expressed their gratitude that delivery of food grains was done timely by air, sea and rail routes.
Shri Paswan expressed his appreciation to the States for rising to the occasion in the distribution of foodgrains and pulses to the poor and migrant labourers and in going ahead with the one nation one ration card initiative. He also expressed satisfaction that procurement of food grains is proceeding well.
Speaking to Food Ministers and Food Secretaries from various states across the country, Shri Paswan said they should ensure distribution of foodgrains so that no one goes hungry.The Minister emphasizedthat states like Odisha and West Bengal,affected byCyclone ‘Amphan’,should also take care of those affected by the cyclone.The Minister said that FCI has become the lifeline of food distribution and food grains and pulses are being distributed across the country by road, rail and air. The Minister took stock of the distribution of food grains and pulses in the states and UTs. He heard the successes and hurdles faced and peculiar problems of each state. He also took stock of the implementation of the One Nation, One Card (ONOS) Scheme.
AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package
TheDoFPD has already released 8 LMT of wheat/rice and 39,000 MT of pulsesfor free distribution to the migrant labourers under AtmaNirbhar Bharat package.Union Government is distributing free 5kg wheat/rice per person per month to 8 crores migrant/stranded labourersand one kg of pulses per family per month for two months (May and June 2020) to 1.96 crore migrant families who are not covered under NFSA or any PDS schemes of the States/UTs.The distribution of food grains is expected to be completed before 15 June 2020. Shri Paswan said 17 states have already lifted the food grains under AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and the states of Haryana and Tripura have already started distribution of food grains under this scheme. He said the entire cost of Rs 3500 crore for this schemewill be borneby the Union Government including transportation within the State, dealers’ margin etc. States/UTs are not required to provide list of beneficiaries in advance,but they are requested to send the distribution report of food grains by 15 July, 2020.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana(PMGKAY) Scheme, additional food grains are being distributed to around 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries in all States/UTs for a period of three months from April to June 2020, including the UTs which are on DBT mode.
Shri Paswan said more than 90% of food grains have been distributed for the month of April 2020 by almost all the States(except Punjab, Sikkim ,Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand where the distribution for April is less than 75%) under PMGKAY. Around 61% of food grains have been distributed by the States for the current month. State of Delhi, West Bengal, Manipur, Kerala and Bihar have either not started distribution of food grains for May month or it is less than 10%.
Distribution of Pulses under PM-GKAY
Total pulses requirement for the next three months for the PM-GKAY scheme is 5.87 LMT. As informed by NAFED, around 4.05 LMT pulses have been dispatched. States have received 3.02 LMT pulses and about 1.27 LMT pulsed have been distributed to the beneficiaries of 21 States and 5 UTs. Shri Paswan said the financial burden of this scheme of Rs 5,000 crores, is being borne by the Government of India.
National Food Security Act
Shri Paswan informed that more than 93% of the food grains allocated monthly under NFSA has been disbursed in April 2020, 75% of the total food grain allocationfor the month of Mayhas been distributed by the states.
One Nation One Card Scheme
Under the One Nation One Card (ONOC) scheme, PDS beneficiaries can draw their ration at any FPS shop with biometric verification anywhere across the ‘One Nation One Card’ covered States/UTs.As on 1st May 2020 beneficiaries of 17 States/UTs have onboarded the ‘One Nation One Card’ scheme. 3 more states/UTs namely Orissa, Nagaland and Mizoram will be added by June 2020 and by August 2020, with Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Manipur joining the online platform,total 23 states/UT will be part of this scheme. Shri Paswan said Government is planning to cover all State/UTs of the country under the ONOC scheme by 31 March 2021.
Procurement of food grains
Officials informed the Minister during the Video Conference that cumulative wheat procurement,as on 21 May 2020, has been 319.95 LMT in RMS 2020-21, which was 326.15 LMT in last year of 2019-20.This year wheat procurement is 1.90% low compared to last year, because procurement has started late due to COVID-19. Besides procurement is being undertaken after taking enough precautions and ensuring social distancing in the mandis. Shri Paswan said, going by the present pace of procurement, the target of 400 LMT kept for the season is likely to be achieved.
As on 21 May 2020, cumulative rice procurement has been 460.89 LMT in KMS 2019-20, which is 13% more than 407.86 LMT procurement during 2018-19.
Shri Paswan said this encouraging procurement amidst wide ranging challenges posed by the lockdown is the outcome of extensive team work between Government of India and State Governments.With such robust inflows into the Central Pool, FCI will be able to replenish its granaries with fresh stocks quickly, even after meeting all additional requirements of food grains to fulfil the needs of people during the current crisis. FCI has a comfortable food grain stock of over 600 LMT while about 60 LMT food grains is required for a month to meet demands under NFSA and other welfare schemes.
Shri Paswan said a subsidy of Rs 28,847 crore has been issued to the States/UTs from 01 January 2020 till date by the Central Government led by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, which is more than double the subsidy of Rs 12,356 crore last year for the same period. He mentioned that the Department has been fully backing States/UTs in decentralization of procurementof food grains.