Food Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday asked Food Corporation of India (FCI) to further improve its functioning through use of technology and also works towards changing the public perception about it being inefficient and corrupt. He also stressed on the need to improve India’s ranking in Global Hunger Index by adding nutritional value in people’s diet. The minister was speaking at a virtual conference on the 58th foundation day of FCI, the government’s nodal agency for procurement and distribution of food grains. According to an official statement, Goyal, the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said FCI was founded in 1965 at an auspicious place, the city of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu and has come a long way in realising the dream of India being a self-sufficient nation. However, Goyal mentioned that there was scope for bettering the transparency and directed FCI to prepare a layout on how to strengthen better delivery to the people.
“Our Vision and Mission should be Quality,” he said and mentioned about five sutras for the progress of the corporation. Firstly, he emphasised the need to “change the public perception of FCI from being inefficient & corrupt to dynamic, inclusive & honest”. He also asked FCI to focus on integrating end-to-end tech solutions right from procurement to delivery of food grains for achieving operational efficiency. FCI should establish a grievance redressal mechanism to react rapidly to farmer/Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) in distress as well as plan for modern infrastructure and logistics besides upgrading existing warehouses to international standards, he noted.
Noting that FCI should adopt global best practices to make India a ‘food hub’, the minister said it was important that emphasis should be on improving the country’s rating in the Global Hunger Index. This could be achieved by adding more nutritional value in people’s diet, he added. Goyal also urged FCI to simplify the processes, free the organisation from discretionary power, make a robust testing mechanism for food grains and review sampling techniques. “We keep talking about the green revolution – I & II. But as the Prime Minister said, the goal should be ‘Evergreen revolution’. Food security is not enough, focus should be on ‘Nutritional Security’,” he said.
The minister praised FCI for carrying out the world’s largest food supply chain system, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, to ensure seamless supply of food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anya Yojana’. “Today, FCI procures nearly 1,300 lakh tonnes of wheat & paddy annually against nearly 13 lakh tonnes procured during 1965. “Similarly, distribution across the country has increased from about 18 lakh tonnes in 1965 to nearly 600 lakh tonnes,” he highlighted. The storage capacity has risen from 6 lakh tonnes in 1965 to over 800 lakh tonnes now. Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey applauded the transformation efforts being made by FCI, especially the recent initiatives to ensure transparency and enhanced efficiency.