Free supply of PDS pulses under PMGAY to speed up in 1st week of May: Govt

By: |
April 25, 2020 7:44 PM

Most of the beneficiaries will receive the quota for the first month within April or latest by the first week of May. Several states would be able to distribute pulses for all three months in the first go itself, it said.

For the remaining states, the efforts are being made to complete the distribution for all three months within May itself, preferably within the third week of May, it added.For the remaining states, the efforts are being made to complete the distribution for all three months within May itself, preferably within the third week of May, it added.

Distribution of free pulses to 20 crore PDS households across the country will speed up in the first week of May as the massive operation of transportation and milling of 5.88 lakh tonne of pulses for the same is underway, the government said on Saturday.

Most of the beneficiaries will receive the quota for the first month within April or latest by the first week of May. Several states would be able to distribute pulses for all three months in the first go itself, it said.

For the remaining states, the efforts are being made to complete the distribution for all three months within May itself, preferably within the third week of May, it added.

Nearly a month back, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced free distribution of 1 kg pulses for three months to each householder registered with public distribution system (PDS) under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Anna Yojana (PMGAY) to ensure protein needs of the poor during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“While, as on date, about 30,000 tonnes of pulses have been distributed, this would speed up in the first week of May,” the Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

While the monthly requirement of pulses is about 1.96 lakh tonne under the PMGAY, about 1.45 lakh tonne of milled and cleaned pulses have so far been offered to states for distribution through PDS, also called ration shops.

About  one-third of the monthly requirement of pulses has been taken by states and union territories to final destinations for distribution, it said.

Around 17 states and Union territories such as Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Andamans, Chandigarh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana have begun distribution.

Several other states and UTs have decided to distribute pulses along with foodgrain distribution in the first week of May for reasons of social distancing and public safety.

Some states and UTs such as Andaman and Nicobar, Chandigarh, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Goa, Ladakh, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and even Punjab have been provided milled / cleaned pulses for all three months in one go, it said.

Several states with dal mills within their jurisdictions have been asked to lift the milled pulses by themselves to speed up the process, it added.

Asserting that a “massive operation for transport and milling of pulses is underway”, the ministry said about 8.5 lakh tonne of pulses will have to be milled for distribution of 5.88 lakh tonnes of milled and cleaned pulses under the PDS for three months under the PMGAY.

The cooperative NAFED is executing the task, it said and noted that “the scale of this operation is massive and far more complex than foodgrain movement”.

Each kilo of pulse goes through at least three (in many cases four) trips by truck and as many cycles of loading and unloading. While for long distances, transport is being done through goods trains, in most cases transportation is by road through trucks, the ministry added.

This kind of massive operation would involve about two lakh truck trips and loading as well as unloading operation over a period of 4 weeks, the ministry said, adding that it is challenging during the lockdown as many dal mills and godowns are located in the hotspot areas.

“Managing operations safely in such areas is crucial. In such areas, availability of trucks and labour for loading and unloading has been a huge problem,” it said.

According to the ministry, NAFED has been allowed to use the pulses stock lying in its 165 godowns for this purpose. The cooperative, which has roped in over 100 dal mills so far, is selecting the millers through online auctions.

Also, a five group of officers of both Consumer Affairs and Agriculture Ministries have been created for coordinating with states, NAFED, dal millers and warehousing corporations.

The Cabinet Secretary is personally monitoring the distribution on a day to day basis, the ministry added.

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