Govt plans grain supply in five-kg packets

Centre says 30 pc supply does not reach beneficiaries

Govt plans grain supply in five-kg packets

Seeking to plug leakages in distribution, the Centre is mulling over supplying foodgrain in 5 kg packets through its fair price shops as it rolls out the ambitious food security law.

Currently, foodgrain are packed in 50 kg bags and delivered to the fair price shops operating under the public distribution system (PDS). The fair price shops further sell the foodgrain to the beneficiaries at the subsidised price.

Under the new proposal, foodgrains would be supplied to fair price shops in 5 kg bags which would be made available to the estimated 82 crore beneficiaries of the food security law.

“There is a suggestion to supply 5 kg foodgrains in packets via public distribution system (PDS). We are looking into this proposal seriously,” Food Minister K V Thomas said at a function to mark the “World Standards Day”.

According to government estimates, as many as 30 per cent foodgrains made available under the PDS are pilfered and do not reach the intended beneficiaries.

The food security law aims at providing legal right to 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month at Rs 1-3 per kg.

The Centre is discussing with stakeholders on how foodgrains can be packed in small quantities during the procurement level in key growing states like Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, Thomas said.

“We are working out this with producing states. We can procure quality grains and pack them in a 5 kg bag for distribution to PDS beneficiaries,” Thomas said.
He said the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has also been asked to examine this issue.

The BIS has more responsibility to ensure quality standards for food products, Thomas said, noting that the organisation has brought out a number of standards covering food safety.

“On the issue of human health and safety, one concern is the availability of food that is hygienic and free of contaminants so that the food is safe for consumption,” he said.

The minister asked Indian companies to adapt their business practices to global standards to benefit from the global trade.

The BIS has formulated over 19,000 standards on diverse subjects ranging from food, chemicals, engineering and textiles to high technology areas of electronics with a focus on their conformity to international standards.

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