Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali revealed that the department has made a history by saving more than 2.50 lakh quintals of food grains in Kashmir division for the current financial year.
The Minister provided the information after taking stock of supply position of food grains and petroleum products in the division during a review meeting on Wednesday, an official statement said.
Zulfkar Ali said that after ensuring complete distribution of food grains among its consumers, FCS&CA Kashmir has still saved 2,51,381 quintals of rice for the financial year of 2017-18, amounting to saving of Rs 1,50, 61,55,500 crore for the department.
The Minister attributed the savings to the introduction of latest technology and other innovative measures adopted by the department. “Introduction of electronic Public Distribution System (ePDS), installation of Point of Sale (PoS) machines, replacing old weighing scales with digital ones and most importantly seeding and linking of Aadhaar cards with their consumers’ ration cards were the main reasons for the savings,” he explained.
He further explained seeking Aadhaar details and linking them with the ration cards immediately reflected on the stats as many duplicate and fraudulent accounts dropped off from the list compiled by the department.
Zulfkar Ali informed that around 3,000 PoS machines have been installed at various government sale centres, fair price shops (FPS), and retails stores. More than 2.75 lakh transactions were done through these machines, he added.
He said that more than 3,000 digital weighing scales were installed to replace old weighing equipment at government food grain sale centres and FPS stores.
He said the purpose of introducing the latest technology was to maintain a transparency in the functioning of the department, stop food grain siphoning or pilferage which was going on at certain points and to ensure timely distribution of food grains among the consumers.
Expressing his satisfaction over the present stock situation in the Kashmir division, the Minister said the department does not need to procure the food grains for next two months as it has sufficient food grain stocks. He added that with the stock position in FCI stores, FCS&CA Kashmir godowns and the supplies dumped in snowbound areas, the stocks could last for four months. He said similarly the valley has sufficient stocks of petroleum products including petroleum, gas, and diesel which will suffice for a month.
The Minister emphasized upon employees to maintain the standards which the department has set off late. He said there has been a huge makeover in the image of the department due to its efficiency and efficacy.
He said although there still might be some loopholes that need to be plugged, still, to compliment the working of our employees, consumers complaints have reduced to almost nil.