Storage crisis: States asked to lift PDS grains in advance

Storage crisis: States asked to lift PDS grains in advance

In an effort to ease storage pressure ahead of monsoon, the Centre has directed the states and the union territories to lift in advance six months quota of subsidised foodgrains for supply via public distribution system (PDS).

At present, the government has storage capacity of 63 million tonnes (mt), while the stocks are expected to cross 70 mt by the end of this month. Poor lifting of foodgrains from states for ration shop supply is also adding to the storage worries of the central government.

To address the issue of storage problem and ensure uninterrupted supply of subsidised grains via ration shops, Food Minister K V Thomas has asked the states to lift in advance six month quota of foodgrains and further distribute the same through ration shops, an official release said.

He has requested "states to avail the facility of advance lifting of foodgrains and its onward distribution to the beneficiaries of public distribution system to the maximum extent possible", it said.

The minister has also directed states not to compel ration cardholders to lift their six months quota in one go and it should be purely voluntary.

Besides, the Centre has asked states to lift additional allocation of 60 lakh tonnes for families living above poverty line (APL) and 15.40 lakh tonnes for poorest districts in 12 states made for this year.

In order to ensure transparency, states have been advised that the bulk distribution may be made as far as possible in the presence of state government officials, representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions, members of vigilance committees in Gram Sabhas and NGOs concerned.

The government godowns are overflowing with granaries due to bumper production and procurement in the last few years. This year, wheat production is expected to touch 90.23 mt and rice output at 103.41 mt.

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