Taskforce Set Up To See Fair Distribution Under PDS

New Delhi, October 19: | Updated: Oct 20 2002, 05:30am hrs
Union food and consumer affairs minister, Sharad Yadav said that the government has formed a taskforce to ensure that foodgrain reach the targeted poor under the public distribution system (PDS).

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday the minister said that the taskforce will be headed by food secretary, RD Kapur and will monitor and supervise all the issues related to management of foodgrain and liaison with the state governments to ensure smooth functioning of all programmes related to the ministry. New programmes for consumers through welfare councils are also being thought so as to make them aware of their rights.

Mr Yadav said the taskforce will look into the anomalies in PDS and suggest self-corrective measures. Several welfare schemes are being run by the food ministry the progress of which will be monitored by the taskforce, he said adding it aims at resolving various contentious issues with states through interaction.

Since various central policies are implemented by the states, the taskforce will be the medium to channelise suggestions for execution. Another issue to be looked at by the body will be prevention of deviation of foodgrain meant for exports into the domestic market. It will also look into the procurement mechanism of the Food Corporation of India so that maximum farmers benefit from the system, he added. Presenting the three-year achievements of his ministry, Mr Yadav said Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) is by far the most successful scheme launched in the recent times. The government is thinking of expanding this scheme, particularly in tribal areas where people have low purchasing power.

He said the offtake for below poverty line beneficiaries under PDS has been less but the government will take steps to change the situation. At present the Bureau of Indian Standards covers 1,076 mandatory products for quality certification. Efforts are being made to bring in more products under mandatory quality certification, he said.