The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan met State Food Secretaries and State government officials along with officials of Food Corporation of India (FCI),Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and State Warehousing Corporations (SWCs)in New Delhi today. Shri Paswan discussed various issues pertaining to efficient implementation of national food security act, End to end computerisation, transparency in storage and distribution of food grains and synergising of all FCI depots and CWC and SWC depots with the Depot Online System (DOS).Addressing the gathering, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan stated that the work done by the department of Food and Public Distribution is very important and it is almost a life line for the beneficiaries wherein 612 lakh ton of food grains stored in warehouses of FCI, CWC, SWCs and private godowns are distributed among 81 crore beneficiaries annually. Shri Paswan asserted that use of Information Technology right from the time of purchase of food grains till its distribution will help in increasing the overall efficiency of the entire process, while maintaining transparency and curbing corruption.The Union Minister expressed satisfaction over the fact that the Depot Online System (DOS) has been implemented in all warehouses of Food Corporation of India (FCI) and 144 depots of Central Warehousing Corporation and the food grain procurement process of FCI is also beingdone online. Shri Paswan expressed happiness that most States have also made their procurement, storage and distribution processes online in some way or the other.
Shri Paswan emphasised that it is imperative that there is a seamless flow of information online between the FCI and States and therefore they need to be integrated so that exact information about how much food grain has been procured from which mandi, which warehouse it is stored in and for how long and when it has been released for distribution can be available. There should also be information about the quality of food grains at the time of purchase, storage conditions in the warehouse, when it is given to PDS shops and when the shops have distributed it to the beneficiaries. The Union Minister insisted that there should be a system for storage of all such qualitative and quantitative information which can then be accessed through the ‘’annavitaran’’ portal. The Union Minister said that this will help in improving the image of FCI, CWC and SWCs.The key decision taken in the meeting was that FCI will provide an internet gateway for integrating DOS with State governments within 4 months. After that, within 2 months, States will integrate their Warehouse Management Systems with DOS.The Union Minister issued instructions to the officials of Department of Food and PD to review the progress in 4 months and next meeting in this regard will be held in January, 2020.Another key decision taken was moving towards One Nation One Ration Card (RC) which will ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice. This will provide freedom to the beneficiaries as they will not be tied to any one PDS shop and reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption. Integrated Management of PDS (IMPDS) is a system that is already operational in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura wherein a beneficiary can avail his share of food grain from any district in the State. In today’s meeting, other states also assured that IMPDS will be implemented at the earliest. The Department of Food and PD is working on war footing to achieve the objective of One Nation One Ration Card and in the next two months beneficiaries of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will be able to access the PDS shops. The objective of the department is to ensure that this is implemented nationally in a time bound manner. There will also be creation of a Central Repository of all RCs which will help in de-duplication. Shri Paswan asserted that the biggest beneficiary of this will be those migrant labourers who move to other States to seek better job opportunities and will ensure their food security.