Ram Vilas Paswan, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has said that the Government has decided not to accept the recommendation of High Level Committee on restructuring of Food Corporation of India (FCI) regarding cut in the coverage of the National Food Security Act. He clarified that beneficiary coverage at the level of 67% as provided by the Nations Food Security Act would continue. He said his Ministry has submitted its views to the Prime Minister’s office regarding all the recommendations of the committee.
Addressing the media in Delhi on March 5, Ram Vilas Paswan said that his ministry has already taken several steps to improve the management of foodgrains. As a result of timely allocations of foodgrains and efficient open market sale policy now there is no old stocks piling up in FCI godowns. After the current month no stock more than one year old will be in FCI godowns. The Minister said that FCI has also been directed to ensure that movement of foodgrains from Covered and Plinth (CAP) storage should be made within six months to avoid any damage.
The minister said that the government has allocated more budget to the ongoing schemes of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. This will certainly help in modernization of Public Distribution System and to augment Consumer Protection Mechanism.
He said that end to end computerization scheme of the department will get major boost as budget allocation in the FY 2015-16 is Rs 80 crore while according to Revised Budget Estimates for FY 2014-15 it was Rs 35 crore. Similarly, allocation for Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority for 2015-16 is Rs 30 crore, significant increase from Rs13.81 of the Revised Estimates for 2014-15. The Budget for Strengthening of quality control mechanism for non-building assets has also been increased to Rs 5 crore from Rs 3.50 crore. Sugar Development Fund of the Department has also got more allocation in the budget which is Rs 500 crore while was Rs 396.45 crore in the Revised Estimates of 2014-15.
He said that allocation for Consumer Protection Activities and programmes have been more than doubled. Allocation for FY 2015-16 is Rs 43.00 crore while allocation for the same was Rs 17.72 crore in the Revised Budget Estimates for FY 2014-15.Bureau of India Standards, which is almost a self finance autonomous body of the ministry working in the area of Standardization and quality control has also been got almost double allocation in the budget from RE of 2014-15. Total plan Budget of the Department of Consumer Affairs has been proposed to Rs 180.00 crore in the Budget while in the Revised Estimates of 2014-15 it was Rs 140.00 crore.
Paswan expressed the hope that with these increased allocations, activities of both the Departments of the Ministry will strengthen.