1. Food Act implemented without proper preparation: CAG

Food Act implemented without proper preparation: CAG

States were largely “unprepared” to handle more foodgrains prior to the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013...

By: | New Delhi | Published: April 30, 2016 6:08 AM

States were largely “unprepared” to handle more foodgrains prior to the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013, which envisages providing highly subsidised foodgrains to two-thirds of the country’s population, the Controller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Friday said in a report.

“The states were largely unprepared for handling the logistics of allocation, movement and storage of foodgrains which was necessary for efficient and successful implementation of NFSA,” CAG stated in its first audit report submitted to parliament on the mega food security legislation.

While the criticising the Centre, CAG said that the food ministry did not make any preparation with regard to the removal of bottlenecks in the movement of foodgrains, as it could not ensure preparation and finalisation of the National Foodgrains Movement Plan.

CAG also noted that the storage capacity of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was insufficient considering the increased grain allocation for several states. “The storage capacity was not adequate even for three months’ requirement of foodgrains in the test checked states,” CAG has noted.

Besides, the top audit body has observed that the identification of beneficiaries who would be getting  foodgrains under the Public Distribution System (PDS) was not carried out in a systematic and scientific manner. “Some states merely re-stamped their old cards as NFSA-compliant and that too without providing for women empowerment as laid down in NFSA,” the audit report has noted.

Under the NFSA, notified in July 2013, close to 82 crore people would get 5 kg each of wheat, rice and coarse grains monthly at R2, R3 and R1 per kg, respectively. Earlier, under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), 35 kg of subsidised foodgrains was provided to each of the 14 crore below poverty line (BPL) families.

On most of the states not implementing the NFSA as stipulated within a year of the legislation coming into force in July, 2013, CAG criticised the food ministry for extending the timeframe for the roll-out of the food security legislation for states thrice until September, 2015.

“The extension of time schedule for implementation of NFSA without the approval of the Parliament, as there was no enabling provisions in NFSA, was irregular. Food ministry also failed to resolve several issues raised by the states during the formulation phase and also after enactment of NFSA, which contributed to the delay in implementation,” CAG has noted.

While acknowledging the food ministry’s contention that there was sufficient capacity for stocking the central pool foodgrains, CAG, however, has noted that the ministry’s claim of 79.24 lakh tonne of storage capacity available across the country was not correct, as the shortfall in the total storage capacity of FCI for the central pool stock was 9% to 35% during 2010-14.

While giving thrust on creation of modern grain storage infrastructure, CAG has also noted that “the problem may get compounded in future, as the requirement of movement becomes increasingly heavy”.

At present, 26 states and seven Union territories have rolled out NFSA. The annual requirement of foodgrain for the implementation of the NFSA is around 50–55 million tonne.

Regulator’s rap
* States were largely ‘unprepared’ to handle more foodgrains prior to the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013, which envisages providing highly subsidised foodgrains to two-thirds of the country’s population, the Controller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Friday said in a report
* CAG said that the food ministry did not make any preparation with regard to the removal of bottlenecks in the movement of foodgrains
* CAG also noted that the storage capacity of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was insufficient considering the increased grain allocation for several states
* The top audit body observed that the identification of beneficiaries who would be getting  foodgrains under the Public Distribution System was not carried out in a systematic and scientific manner

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