States and UTs to explore additional revenue streams to improve the financial viability of FPS

New Delhi, Nov 19: States and UTs to explore additional revenue streams to improve the financial viability of Fair Price Shops (FPS), said Shri Sanjeev Chopra, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution while interacting with States, UTs during a conference of Food Secretaries on Friday here.

One of the best practices on FPS transformation was demonstrated by the Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu highlighting multiple initiatives undertaken such as selling of commodities, minor millets, grocery items, ISO certification of FPSs during his presentation. Secretary, DFPD appreciated the persistent efforts of Tamil Nadu and stressed on the significance of transformation of FPS.

Secretary, DFPD chaired the conference in which important issues linked with various schemes of the Department including Implementation of Rice Fortification, One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC), Smart PDS, Route Optimization etc.

were discussed in details with the Food Secretaries of States and UTs. In his inaugural address, he impressed upon the State Governments for extending all possible support in holistic implementation of the schemes and programmes of DFPD. Shri Chopra said that Government of India is aiming to achieve full distribution of fortified rice in all government programmes by the year 2023-24.

The ecosystem is fully geared up to achieve the target and States, UTs have been requested to strengthen their respective machinery in order to be fully prepared to ensure the procurement, supply and distribution of fortified rice as per the stipulated timeline. The FCI is conducting this initiative all over the country.

He appreciated the efforts taken by States in ensuring food grains to migrants under the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme. As an outcome of the scheme, more than 91 crore portability transactions have been recorded since its inception.

Representative from Nandurbar (Maharashtra) shared the insights on the initiatives taken such as creation of district dashboard and migrants’ profile in order to reduce the malnutrition.

Through a presentation the Department highlighted the Learning Management System (LMS) developed by it in collaboration with World Food Programme (WFP) which has seen more than 12000 registrations, along with generation of more than 34000 course completion certificates.

There are currently 6 modules in the LMS and more are being added. States/UTs are requested to suggest topics of specific relevance to them. The LMS has digitised the capacity building of the PDS functionaries.

The Department is also envisaging a new and unified scheme to strengthen the PDS technology components by standardization of its operation and implementation of data driven decision making through the data analytics.

This scheme aims to transform the entire PDS IT ecosystem by leveraging the usage of Cloud and new age technology which shall be named as Scheme for Modernization and Reforms through Technology in Public Distribution System -SMART-PDS. During the Conference, a presentation was made indicating the present status of finalization of accounts, their pendency and way forward for accelerating the same.

Secretary, DFPD, impressed upon that the process may be expedited and as many as possible States’ accounts be settled before the next Financial Year.  He also stressed for improvement of infrastructure in Mandis, Procurement Centres in the States for the overall benefit of the farmers of the State.

A presentation was made on “Route Optimisation of TDPS Supply Chain” which reduces overall logistics cost by optimally utilizing existing resources like FPS, godown. Estimated finding of route optimization study in Uttarakhand state by WFP (World Food Programme) was shared by state’s official.

Presently, WFP is carrying out route optimization study in 3 states on pro bono basis. It was decided to undertake the study in all states & UTs by March2023 and start implementation. States, UTs were requested to extend their support in collection of data and implementation of the findings on priority basis.

Roll out plan of Annapurti Grain ATM developed by WFP, was also presented. It can dispense two commodities and takes about 90 seconds in dispensing 50 Kg of foodgrains. The solution reduces manual labour and automates the distribution of foodgrains under the PDS.

Currently, 4 Annapurti solutions have been installed at Gurgaon, Dehradun, Varanasi and Bhubaneshwar. 6 more solutions are being installed at Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Shillong, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bengaluru. All these units have been installed by WFP on pro bono basis.

The solution has immense benefits to casual workers, migrant workers and industrial workers as they can avail their entitlements even after their working hours in an automated manner.

These solutions can also be installed in industrial complexes itself where the workers can lift their entitlements at the place of work only. The solution can essentially work just like normal banking ATM. The states/UTs have been requested to express their interests for piloting the solutions.

Chairman, Warehousing Development & Regulatory Authority (WDRA) made a brief presentation on the various initiatives taken on improving the Registration of warehouse and pledging of electronic Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (eNWR).

He requested to all States/UTs to get their warehouse registered with WDRA and elaborated the benefits of the eNWR. This will enable the farmers to get the Post-harvest finance by pledging eNWR and save them from the distress sale of the agri produce.

As there was less procurement of wheat during previous Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2022-23, therefore all States were requested for timely sowing of wheat and better procurement of wheat during ensuing RMS 2023-24.

States were advised to improve procurement infrastructure and complete the paddy procurement and milling operations within the specified timelines for Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2022-23. Also, States were requested to improve their online procurement System and to add more Threshold Parameters for transparency in foodgrains procurement and milling.

Department of Food and Public Distribution is consistently working in the direction of improvement in the quality standards of foodgrains that are being delivered to the most vulnerable section of the society through various social security scheme of Government of India.

In order to streamline the entire process from procurement to distribution and to develop a robust mechanism for monitoring the quality standards of foodgrains various Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been formulated from time to time by the department in consultation with States/other stakeholders.


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