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The centre has asked the states to expedite implementation of National Food Security Act. They have been urged to complete all the preparatory work by March next year so that the Act can be roll-out all over the country in April 2015.
Addressing the conference of state food secretaries held in New Delhi on December 10, Ram Vilas Paswan stated that the time-limit of one year provided in the Act for identification of eligible households had to be extended twice as several stated were unable to do so in the prescribed time limit. He asked the states which have not yet implemented the Act to complete identification of beneficiaries and other preparatory measures within the extended period and ensure implementation of the Act. He observed that after the Act having come into force, the arrangement of continuing allocation under existing Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) can only be a temporary measure. The Act, which came into force with effect of July 5, 2013 has been implemented in 11 States/Union Territories. The conference was held to review the preparedness for implementation of the Act in remaining states.
The minister stressed the need for identification of beneficiaries in a fair, transparent and participatory manner, delivery of food grains upto door-steps of fair price shops, end-to-end computerisation of TPDS and setting up of an effective grievance redressal mechanism for strengthening of TPDS and effective implementation of the Act.
On computerization of PDS, Paswan impressed upon the participating states/UTs to complete the digitization of beneficiaries and other data at the earliest, seed the Aadhaar numbers in the data and put all the data in public domain to bring transparency in the system. He said people-centric services such as online issuance, modification and deletion of ration cards, SMS alerts, toll-free helpline for providing PDS related information and online grievance registration and its tracking, should be put in place.
States/UTs were asked to provide their action plan with time lines for implementing the next phase of computerization i.e automation at the fair price shop level.
In the conference the level of preparation for implementation of the National Food Security Act which include status of measures taken for identification of eligible households, issuance of ration cards, door-steps delivery of foodgrains, availability of storage facilities and digitisation of beneficiary data, computerisation of supply chain management, setting up of transparency portal and grievance redressal mechanism, was reviewed in detail in 25 states/UTs which have yet to implement the Act.