Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Commerce & Industry and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal today appreciated the efforts of the State and UT governements for procuring and distribution of foodgrains and said that all the States/UTs should work together with the Government of India in the spirit of cooperative federalism. He said this while chairing the ‘National Conference of Food Ministers of States/UTs’ organized by the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD), in New Delhi today. The Minister requested all States/UTs to submit their pending claims on dues with the union government expeditiously so that they can be settled at the earliest.
The conference was graced by Union Ministers of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Ms. Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, 17 Food Ministers and officials from 35 States/UTs and officials of the Department of Food and Public Distribution, Govt of India.
In the presentation, the Department highlighted the scale of, and reforms in, procurement process of foodgrains which is key to providing food security and stability to domestic prices of foodgrains.
During the conference, Shri Piyush Goyal also launched a new Sugar-Ethanol portal.
A demonstration of the Automated Multi-Commodity Grain Dispensing Machine – ‘Annapurti’ developed by the UN World Food Programme (UN-WFP) and Automatic Grain Analyzers developed for automated quality checking of grains was conducted as part of the Conference. In addition, a millet exhibition showcasing various millet products was held on the side-lines of the Conference.
During the first half of the Conference, a comprehensive strategy to increase the procurement of coarse grains was discussed and formulated. This strategic focus on coarse grains/millets reflects a broader objective to strengthen the nutritional security of the beneficiaries. It is projected that a total of 26.14 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) of coarse grains would be procured in Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2023-2024, while the expected distribution would be 22.31 LMT.
Some of the other key topics that were discussed extensively during the conference included grading of procurement centres to ensure uniformity and quality, effective implementation of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), implementation of the SMART–PDS scheme for end-to-end computerization of procurement and distribution of foodgrains, transformation of Fair Price Shops (FPS), action plan for the implementation of Route Optimization study to bring down the distance involved in intra-State distribution, diversification of food basket through distribution of coarse grains/millets, among others.
Additionally, best practices of States/UTs were showcased to foster cross-learning on various topics including construction of Model FPS through MGNREGA funds by Uttar Pradesh, e-KYC & de-duplication of ration cards by Assam, Supply Chain Automation by Gujarat and quality assurance of Rice fortification by Andhra Pradesh.