Jammu : ‘India’s handling of food security during Covid crisis has been globally acknowledged and applauded at several international fora, including the World Trade Organisation, United Nations World Food Programme and a Ministers’ Meeting at international level. In addition to serving its own people, the Government also helped people from other nations during these crises.’ The remarks were made by Union Secretary Food & Public Distribution Department, Sudhanshu Pandey on his two day visit to J&K, for reviewing the working of Food and Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department in the region.
In a meeting held at the Civil Secretariat, a detailed presentation was made by Commissioner Secretary FCS&CA, Zubair Ahmad to present the efforts of the department in making PDS in J&K transparent, credible and dependable, where the Secretary was informed that e-POS machines have been installed at all 6735 sale outlets in J&K, 100 percentAadhar seeding has been achieved at all levels in PDS and Aadhar drawn transactions have crossed 91.He was apprised that J&K stands 9th in India in terms of number of transactions made so far under One Nation One Ration Card scheme. He was apprised also that an MoU has also been signed with CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd, to leverage ePoS devices to deliver CSC services. 2633 outlets have been provided IDs and 769 of these are already active.
The Secretary was informed about WhatsApp helpline numbers, 9055224552 for Jammu and 9419600009 for Kashmir, introduced by the Department. More than 1 million bogus and duplicate beneficiaries have been removed from the records, it was informed.
Earlier, Sudhanshu Pandey visited several Fair Price Shops at Katra and Jammu and inspected their setup and facilities. He interacted with locals and took their feedback. The Secretary also inspected the New Food Store at Nagrota and suggested measures for modern management and development of the facility.
Highlighting the need to dispel doubts regarding fortified food grains, the Secretary directed the officers to organise awareness campaigns. The grains have been fortified to provide essential nutrients to the consumers and the same message must be delivered effectively, he underlined.
Elaborating the Government’s achievements, the Secretary said, ‘The Union Government is spending large amount of money to ensure food security of the public. Beating global trends of food inflation, the Government dispensed food subsidies worth Rs 5,62,000crore last year’. Similarly, in J&K alone, the Government is disbursing food grains worth Rs 5000 crore and spending Rs 4000 crore as food subsidy under PMGKY and NFSA ration supplies, he added.
He lauded the One Nation One Ration Card scheme and said that due to it, migratory workers, seasonal labour among all other citizens are able to get ration at any place in the country. He advised the officers to collaborate with Labour Department to conduct ground surveys to encourage workers and labourers take benefit of the scheme and collect ration from dealership of their choice and convenience.
Sudhanshu Pandey instructed the officers to encourage local procurement of food grains. He suggested that the department should promote procuring food grains from local farmers through Food Corporation of India for further distribution. It would empower the farmers and reduce the cost of transportation and distribution thereby benefitting the community, he surmised.
He informed the officers about the green fuel mission of India. He elaborated the department’s role in green fuel mission. ‘The 10 percent ethanol blending target has already been achieved and within the next two years, 20 percent concentration target would be achieved. Maize is a key ingredient of ethanol production and the same could be procured from local farmers thereby supporting them in return’, he explained. ‘All out efforts should be made for setting up of ethanol production plants and procurement of maize from the farmers’, he continued and added that the residual products could be utilised in poultry and animal husbandry sectors.
He appreciated the J&K Food and Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department for achieving 100 percent Aadhar seeding, over 91 percent Aadhar authenticated transactions and other milestones within short time. He also appreciated the department for promoting the use of PDS data base for Ayushman Bharat verification in J&K.
Commissioner Secretary FCS&CA, Zubair Ahmad; Director FCS&CA Jammu, Dr Naseem Javaid; General Manager FCI Jammu, HS Dhaliwal; Joint Director FCS&CA Jammu, Ashok Kumar; Assistant Directors of the department, among various other senior officers were present at the meeting with the Secretary.