Illegally Transported Kerosene Seized

In another shameful act related to PDS in India, around 3000 litres of kerosene being illegally transported was seized by the police at Polasara in Ganjam district of Odisha, the police said today.

The kerosene, meant for the public distribution system (PDS), was allegedly transported in a mini-truck yesterday, they said. "The driver of the truck Sushant Sahu was arrested," Sub-divisional Police Officer (Chhatrapur) Shantanu Padhy said. The kerosene was being transported from Dhunkapada near Polasara.

Source - PTI

Rice Procurement Crosses 250 Lakh Tonne

Rice procurement in the Kharif marketing season 2011-12 (October-September) has crossed the mark of 250 lakh tonne. According to statistics 2,50,24,200 tonne rice has been procured by the various government agencies by February 22, 2012.

Punjab procured 77,31,325 tonne followed by Chhatisgarh 40,54,679 Andhra Pradesh 36,87,335 and Haryana 19,73,875 tonne of rice. This procurement is 1,75,517 tonne more than the corresponding day of last marketing season.

Coutesy - Press Information Bureau

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State Food Secretaries Reviews Procurement Arrangements

A meeting of State Food Secretaries of wheat procuring States was held on the 21st February 2012 under the chairmanship of Union Food Secretary, Dr. B.C. Gupta to review procurement arrangements for the forthcoming Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2012-13 in different States.

The estimated procurement during RMS 2-12-13 as intimated by the States is 318.9 lakh MTs as compared to 283.34 lakh MT of actual procurement during RMS 2011-12. The meeting discussed State-wise estimates of procurement. Madhya Pradesh has indicated a record estimate of 65 lakh tonnes of procurement for RMS 2012-13.

The period for procurement of wheat during RMS 2012-13 is between 1st April to 30th June, 2012 for majority of States except Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat where it will start on 15th March. In Bihar and Jammu & Kashmit, the procurement will start from 15th April, 2012.

Arrangements for wheat procurement discussed during the meeting include number of purchase centers to be opened in each State, MSP payment arrangements, as possible as through account payee cheques or bank transfers direct to the farmers, quality control measures, storage and movement of foodgrains etc. States assured that they are fully gear up to make record procurement this time and they are in process of setting up control room to monitor it.

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State Food Ministers Meet Resolved to Modernize the PDS

The Government is considering a Special Purpose Vehicle for transportation of foodgrains from procuring states to consuming states and GPS tracking system to monitoring the movement of foodgrains. Briefing the media persons after the conclusion of two days’ Conference of State Food and Agriculture Ministers here today, Minister of Consumer Affairs & Food and Public Distribution, Prof. K V.Thomas said that States have resolved to modernize the Public Distribution System and create modern storage facilities.

Prof. Thomas said that during deliberations, it was reported by some of the States that there would be massive savings in foodgrains and subsidy amount if biometric-based bar-coded ration cards are issued to the beneficiaries. The intention was to ensure that the fruits of subsidy reach the poor and needy sections of the society and the PDS is streamlined / modernized with the help of modern techniques of Information Technology. It was stated that a Plan Scheme had already been drafted and sent to the Planning Commission for giving financial assistance to the States to computerize the PDS.

He said that the Conference also resolved to create modern storage facilities including 2 MMT of storage in the shape of silos. The States were strongly urged to provide lands for setting up silos and take advantage of the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) scheme of the Government of India.

The purpose of the conference was to provide a common platform to all the key decision makers involved in Food and Public Distribution System of India, from Centre and States / UTs to discuss and debate the various issues in modernizing the TPDS, to arrive at an action plan to be implemented by the various agencies and also to set timelines for completion of the same.

Minister of Consumer Affairs & Food and Public Distribution pointed out that this is the time to act given the huge subsidy of 60-80% on the price of foodgrains. Hence, it is the moral responsibility of all those involved to ensure that it reaches the true beneficiaries at the right time. He complimented the FCI for reducing storage losses from 2.5% to 0.1% through modernization of godowns. He requested all the States to prepare a 5-year prospective plan to create intermediate storage capacity at the district, block, Gram Panchayat and fair price shop level by leveraging existing schemes, both at the Central and State level.

During the deliberations, the Chairman UIDAI expounded on the tremendous possibilities that the Aadhar Scheme held for modernization of TPDS. He also spoke on the recommendation of the task force on reform of PDS and the PDS Network (PDSN).

In the Interactive sessions spread over two days, all the States and Union Territories made their presentation highlighting the issues faced by them and also giving their valuable suggestions for the smooth functioning of the TPDS and storage initiatives. Further, the States elaborated their plans in the direction of achieving transparency, modernization through latest technology and the progress made in the creation of storage. Many States provided details of the best practices evolved by them for improving the efficiency of TPDS, such as the use of coupons, SMS, bar-codes, biometric identification, smart cards, GPS enabled vehicles, etc.

North Eastern States were vocal in their demand for increased financial assistance to meet their transportation cost and to improve their transportation infrastructure. Many of the smaller States asked FCI to procure in their States until such time that they set up their own procurement infrastructure and institutions. Similarly hilly States and NE States also wanted maintenance of 3-4 months buffer stocks at district level as transportation is severely affected during winter and monsoon.

The Conference was attended by Food and Agriculture Ministers from 20 different States / UTs. The Union Finance Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee was the Chief Guest. The Agriculture Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Shri Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, UIDAI and Shri Ajit Seth, Cabinet Secretary were some of the important participants in the Conference.

Source - Press Information Bureau Website Dated 9th Feb 2012

National Food Security Bill, a Historic Initiative by Central Government

National Food Security Bill, a historic initiative by Central Government Puducherry, February 11, 2012 Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Prof. K.V. Thomas, said that the National Food Security Bill is a historic initiative by the government of India and marks a paradigm shift in food security from welfare to a rights-based approach. This Bill is perhaps the only legislation of its kind in the world, says the Minister.

Prof. K.V. Thomas was addressing the All-India Editors’ Conference on Social Sector Issues (ECSSI) in Puducherry on the 11th Feb 2012. According to Food Minister, the NFSB seeks to address the issue of food security in a comprehensive manner by adopting a life cycle approach. Prof. Thomas clarified that the additional financial implication of the NFSB is not going to be large. With the current coverage and entitlement and also taking into account estimated allocations under other welfare schemes, the food subsidy for 2012-13 is expected to be about Rs.88997 crore. However, if we were to just update the coverage under TPDS (Targetted Public Distribution System) using 2011 census, the subsidy will be Rs.109795 crore. In comparison, the estimated subsidy requirement under NFSB is Rs.1,12,205 crore, i.e., an additional amount of Rs.2410 crore.

Prof. Thomas said that the perception of some states about the coverage under TPDS provide in the bill being restrictive and which will come in the way of universal PDS for a much higher coverage being implemented by them is misplaced. The Bill only specifies the minimum entitlement under TPDS and places obligations on central and state governments to fulfill them once the Act comes into force. He said that the apprehensions in some States about their food grain allocations under NFSB getting reduced is premature. The issue of state-wise coverage, corresponding the all-India coverage specified in the Bill, is yet to be decided.

National Consumer Helpline Records 13,295 Calls in December 2011

The National Consumer Helpline (NCH) received 13,295 calls during December 2011. In addition to these telephonic calls/complaints, 467 complaints were also received through online complaint system on NCH website.

The maximum calls were received from Delhi followed by Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, ,Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

Break-up of calls in respect of top five States during December 2011 is as under:
Sl. No.
Total Calls %age
Uttar Pradesh
West Bengal
Madhya Pradesh

The ‘Telecom’ sector recorded maximum complaints i.e. 14.64. It was followed by products ‘LPG’ ‘Banking’ ‘Public Distribution System’ and ‘Insurance’.

As per feedback received from 1109 callers, 1064 complaints were resolved under convergence with various companies.

Consumers from across the country can access the toll free National Consumer Help Line No. 1800-11-400 and seek telephonic counseling for consumer related problems faced by them. The Consumer Helpline also provides information, advice and guidance related to consumer issues. Complaints can be registered also on the website:

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Prices of Pulses Register Decline

Retail prices of Gram dal, Tur dal and Moong dal registered decline during the week ending on January 12, 2012. According to data monitored and released by the Department of Consumer Affairs. Prices of most of the pulses declined at most the retail centers while at some centers these were steady. Prices of onion and tomato also register a fall at most of the centers.

According to Ministry of Consumer Affair, Food & Public Distribution, prices of Rice, Wheat, Aata, Milk, Groundnut Oil, Vanaspati and Potato remained steady during the week while marginal increase was seen in the price of Mustard Oil & Gur. 

Prices of the Sugar during the week remained steady at all the reporting centres. Infact at five centres - Delhi, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Mumbai and Tiruchapalli, there was a decrease in the prices of sugar.

Source - Press Information Bureau Website

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