Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan highlighted the importance of procurement, storage, and maintenance of stock. He also said that the state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) should conduct regular inspections of its stock to ensure that quality grains are supplied through ration shops. FCI is the government’s nodal agency that procures food grains at the support price and distributes them through ration shops under various welfare schemes.
Addressing the committee members and officials, Paswan asserted that the main objective of FCI is to ensure that farmers in the country get their due share and all possible efforts should be made to ensure that the objective is achieved.
He also highlighted the fact that procurement had been steadily increasing every year and new records were being set. However, the agency should conduct regular inspections of all its stock to ensure quality product is delivered to the final consumer. The minister enquired about the progress being made by various state governments to build godowns and silos for ensuring proper storage facility. He added on this, “The committee was informed that state governments often face difficulties in land acquisition for godowns due to the pre-requisite of being near railway lines.”
Adding on to the new appointments and recruitments by FCI, Paswan said a total of 6,209 recruitments have been done since 2015 and over 4,000 new vacancies will be notified shortly. He also stated that there would also be a provision for the reservation for weaker sections.
The statement said, “162 district offices of FCI will now be rechristened as divisional offices with immediate effect.”
Reviewing the functioning of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), the committee suggested that consumers should be given good quality, adulteration-free products and tougher provisions should be made for punishing adulterators as it has an adverse effect on health of the consumers.
Officials of BIS briefed the committee on several new initiatives, such as digitisation of various activities of the Bureau, online approval of licences, and its future plans to utilise surplus funds towards construction of more field offices and new labs, among others.