Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs & Tribal Affairs, Ch. Zulfkar Ali, who is on 3-day study tour to Odisha, today called on Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik and held wide ranging discussions on the issues relating to the overall development of Jammu and Kashmir.The main focus of discussion between the two leaders was strengthening the ties between two states through socio-economic and cultural exchanges, partnership in important sectors which are beneficial for the two States. The issues relating to food, consumer affairs and public distribution system and welfare of tribal communities were also discussed prominently during the meeting.During the course of interaction, Ch. Zulfkar said that it is his endeavour to study the functioning of the public distribution system in various States which will help in fine-tuning the system in Jammu and Kashmir in most efficient and transparent way. He further maintained that the knowledge gained from various States, especially about the electronic public distribution system and implementation of tribal schemes shall go a long way in ensuring transparency and streamlining things at the grass root level in Jammu and Kashmir for the welfare of the people of the State.
The Chief Minister acquainted the Minister about the success story of e-PDS and effective implementation of various tribal schemes In Odisha. He maintained that the Department of Food and Consumer Welfare deals with formulation and implementation of policy relating to the procurement, storage and distribution of food grains, besides dealt implementation of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). He said that the Department deals with composite affairs with status of Secretariat as well as Directorate. He added that Commissioner-cum-Secretary also functions as the Director/Controller of Supplies and similarly the Director, Consumer Affairs is the ex-officio Special Secretary of this Department. The Directorate of Legal Metrology functions under the administrative control of this Department headed by the Controller, Legal Metrology who also functions as Director, Consumer Affairs-Cum-ex-Officio Special Secretary of this Department. The Chief Minister also threw light on other activities of the department like Market Intelligence and Quality Control Cell.Regarding the Consumer redressal mechanism, the Chief Minister said that there is one State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and 31 District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums to dispose the cases under the Consumer Protection Act. He added that there is one State Public Sector Undertaking namely Orissa State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd working under the administrative control of this Department. The e-Despatch has brought revolution in the state and online mechanism has been working very efficiently and proving fruitful for the consumers. The pilferages have been stopped and transparency has returned in the Department with the implementation of e-PDS, he added.
About the functioning of Tribal welfare Department, the Chief Minister briefed that they are implementing Odisha Tribal Empowerment & Livelihoods Programme aimed at to empower the tribal community & enable them to enhance food security, increase their income & improving overall quality of life, establish & strengthen the institutional mechanism for participatory planning & implementation of different activities by villagers for ensuring sustainable growth.The Chief Minister discussed schemes of compensations to tribal community, boarding facilities for students belonging to ST, scholarships to ST from primary to Ph.D level, educational amenities to ST students like note books, reading & writing materials, uniforms, cash compensation to ‘next of kin’ in case of death of Boarder students, monetary relief to SC victims of atrocities, legal aid to STs for establishing their right, title, interest and possession over the disputed land and also for cases under PCR Act.He also discussed insurance scheme for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups through Janshree Bima Yojana of LIC, Minimum Support Price (MSP) to STs as primary gatherers for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and reservation in Posts & Services as per provisions.The Minister appreciated the Odisha Government for successful implementation of e-PDS and Tribal welfare schemes and said that J&K State will replicate best practices. He said that Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti is concerned to develop the state and she has contributed a lot in bringing transparency and accountability in the system.