SRINAGAR: Union Food and Public Distribution Secretary, Sudhanshu Pandey today held a meeting at Civil Secretariat Srinagar to review the ongoing programmes of the Department of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) and Winter stocking in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Union Food Secretary also reviewed the distribution of subsidised foodgrain to identified beneficiaries under Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), National Food Security Act (NFSA), various welfare schemes launched by the central government and expressed his satisfaction.
The Union Secretary while appreciating the efforts of the department directed the officers to explore the possibility for starting of a community kitchen for attendants in the hospitals of Jammu and Kashmir on PPP mode. He asked them to assign the job to credible empanelled NGOs or social organisations that would be asked to start community kitchen.
At the outset, Commissioner Secretary, Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Zubair Ahmad gave a detailed presentation about the status of various welfare measures and the overall functioning and the progress of the department. He said that they are making tireless efforts in order to make the system more credible and transparent for the effective delivery of services.
The Union Secretary while reviewing the progress made by the FCS&CA in various spheres appreciated their efforts for streamlining the system and making it more transparent and target-oriented.
Emphasising that there is a need to bring in improved technological interventions to automate all distribution operations to ensure transparency and avoid any leakages/diversion in the PDS, he said that the government of India is taking several initiatives in this regard. He said that an alert should be made for repeated failed transactions at FPS shops to solve the problems.
He also said that all Fair Price Shops in the JK should be colour coded with an increase in the font size on the billboards for making them more visible and obvious.
He also directed the FCS&CA officers to explore possibilities for building silo facility at both the divisions as part of the country wide ambitious programme to augment the foodgrain storage capacity.
Commissioner Secretary also requested the Union Secretary to allow the department to distribute the foodgrains in one go for the winter months spanning over six months to the beneficiaries living in areas that remain inaccessible due to snowfall.
He emphasised that certain areas in JK remain inaccessible due to the inclement weather conditions and becomes extremely difficult for the beneficiaries to visit the FPS shops.
The Union Secretary also directed the FCS&CA to explore the possibility for construction of plants for solvent extraction of ethanol for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feedstocks such as cereals (rice, wheat, barley, corn & sorghum), sugarcane, sugar beet to achieve 20% blending by 2025 as well as to meet out the requirement of ethanol production capacity in the country,
To better utilise the infrastructure of FPS shops and the time spent by the agents in the shops, he directed the officers to ensure the availability of multiple products at the shops.
The Union Secretary also asked the department to list out all the issues so that a mechanism will be made for solving them on an immediate basis.
Commissioner Secretary while briefing the Union Secretary about the interventions of the department said that the government is ensuring food security to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir by the timely and efficient distribution of food grains at highly subsidized and affordable prices through a network of 6736 Fair Price Shops (FPS). He said that there are about 25.40 lac ration card holders in JK covering a total population of over 1 crore (NFSA & Non- NFSA).
Regarding the e-POS status, he informed that epos devices have been installed across JK in all 6736 sale outlets and the distribution process is fully automated. While giving details about the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC), he said that the scheme was launched in all the districts of JK on July 2020 and by October 2021 end, 8994 ONORC transactions were made placing JK at the 8th position in the country.
Commissioner Secretary also requested the Union Secretary to consider the allocation of one more kilogram of subsidised sugar per month to the people living in remote areas where the department has to go for winter dumping.
Among others who attended the meeting include Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Director, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Kashmir, General Manager, Food Corporation of India J&K, Chief Accounts Officer FCS&CA, Project Manager, State Project Management Unit, all Assistant Directors of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Kashmir division.
Director Finance, Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Director, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Jammu, Deputy Director (Planning) Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Sunil Koul, Scientist E, NIC J&K attended the meeting through video conferencing.