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Chandigarh, June 23:

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday directed the Secretary Food and Civil Supplies Department to ensure elaborate arrangements in place for smooth and hassle-free paddy procurement during Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2021-22.

The Agriculture department has fixed the target of 197.47 LMT of paddy production during current KMS with sowing of crop over 30 lakh hectares across the State.

Notably, the department successfully procured 202.83 LMT Paddy in Kharif Marketing Season 2020-21 & 132.10 LMT Wheat in Rabi Marketing Season 2021-22 (RMS 2021-22).

Chairing a high level meeting to review the functioning of the Department here through video conferencing, the Punjab Chief Minister also asked the Food and Civil Supplies department to tie up with Centre well in advance for timely procurement of gunny bags (bardana) besides ensuring requisite logistics including transportation and labour for un-interrupted lifting of paddy so that the farmers could get payment of their produce within the stipulated timeline. 

The Chief Minister also asked the Secretary Food and Civil Supplies to ensure speedy distribution of foodgrains to the beneficiaries.

Taking part in the deliberations, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu assured the Chief Minister that the department would leave no stone unturned to ensure timely and seamless procurement of Paddy during KMS 2021-22 like previous 9 consecutive procurements of both Rabi and Kharif since March, 2017.

Making a brief presentation Secretary Food and Civil Supplies Rahul Tiwari apprised the Chief Minister that the department has already developed a software to implement Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) during KMS 2021-22. For procurement, the department functions through its ANAAJ KHARID PORTAL which has registered nearly 10 lakh Farmers, 24000 Arthiyas and 4000 Millers.

As many as 1.51 crore eligible beneficiaries have been distributed Wheat through online mode under NFSA, 2013.

It was also informed that under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna’s (PMGKAY) Phase-I & Phase-II of Wheat & Pulses and Phase-III of Wheat, additional allocation to all 1.41 crore NFSA 2013 beneficiaries has been made. Apart from this, 14 lakh food packets under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme, 17 lakh Dry Ration Packets were distributed to needy from State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) under CM Covid Relief Program and one lakh additional Food Packets are under distribution to Covid-19 positive patients.

          The Legal Metrology Wing of the department has increased its revenue last year from Rs.14 crore to 20 crores and the same is likely to go up to Rs.26 crore.

          Meanwhile, Director Food and Civil Supplies Ravi Bhagat updated the Chief Minister about several IT initiatives to bring far more efficiency in its functioning adding he said Automation of Post Harvesting processes has been completed for J-Form’s integration, H-Register integration, Automatic calculation of Arthiyas fees, Release Order Management, Gate Pass management system.

Further, for Automation of Post Harvesting Processes the Transportation Management using VTS, Management of stacks through RFIDs/QR code, Central Monitoring Cell for godowns and shellers are being developed.

Another PDS mobile App, Linking of Ration Card with DigiLocker is in the pipeline. The proposal for NFC & QR code enabled ID-cum-Business Cards for its employees are under active consideration of the department. The process of issuance of licenses and its renewal for Brick Kiln, Solvents, Naphtha and Kerosene Oil dealers is being made online under ease of doing business. Likewise, GIS mapping of all these is to be done to enhance both its transparency and accountability, added Bhagat.

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