Govt hopes to reduce foodgrain pilferage

Govt hopes to reduce foodgrain pilferage

Centre may use GPS and RFID to curb leakages in system

With its decision for mandatory computerisation of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in the implementation of the National Food Security Scheme (NFSS), the Centre hopes to reduce pilferage of foodgrain by 20 percent in the country in the next year.

The Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs, which is funding the states to computerise the system of TPDS, has received impressive results as the leakage has reduced to nearly 10-15 per cent on an average from 40 per cent earlier.

As computerisation of delivery mechanism is mandatory in all the states along with the implementation of the National Food Security Bill, the mini­stry hopes to reduce the pilferage of foodgrain drastically, so­urces in the ministry told Deccan Herald.

To computerise the TPDS, the Centre will fund around Rs 4,000 crore and under this, ration cards will be replaced with smart cards to ensure transparency while disposing of complaints of any anomalies. The Centre is also looking at using technologies such as Global Positioning System and Radio Frequency Identification Device for curbing leakages in the system. Already, many states have started the process of computerisation of the Public Distribution System (PDS) and it has started showing results with the reduction in pilferage, sources added. 

Now, the government provides subsidised foodgrain to the poor through the TPDS. Even after the NFSS is laun­ched, foodgrain distribution network will remain with the PDS. The food security scheme was cleared by the Union Cabinet recently. A bill in this connection will be tabled in the Budget Session of Parliament.

The Economic Survey for 2010-11 prepared by the Fin­ance Ministry had indicates th­at over 40 per cent of the grain meant for distribution to the poor through the TPDS failed to reach the targeted audience.

Even under the food security scheme, the onus for procurement, allocation and transport of foodgrain up to the designated depots of Food Corporation of India lies with the Central government. The duty of lifting and distributing the allocated foodgrain to the eligible people will be through fair pri­ce shops which lie with the sta­tes.
  As per the government records, foodgrain leakage is highest in West Bengal with 73 per cent followed by Maharashtra (65 per cent) Orissia (63 per cent) and Kerala (60 per cent), while in Karnataka, it is 29.10 - the lowest.

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