Union Secretary reviews procurement arrangements of Punjab

Chandigarh, September 24:

          Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey, IAS, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, visited Punjab to review the procurement arrangements during the upcoming season.

 The review meeting was attended by Mr. Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, IAS, Secretary, Food & Supplies Punjab, Mr. R. K. Kaushik, IAS, Managing Director Punsup, Mr. Arshdeep Singh Thind, IAS, General Manager FCI, Mr. Varun Roojam, IAS, MD Markfed, Mr. Abhinav Trikha, IAS, Director, Food & Supply & Mr.Ravi Bhagat, IAS, Secretary Mandi Board Punjab, and Mr. Dalwinderjit Singh, AMD, PSWC were present.

Director, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Punjab Mr. Abhinav Trikha gave a detailed presentation on various schemes, arrangements being made by the State Government for ensuring smooth procurement of paddy during KMS 2021-22, and pressing issues being faced by the State Government.

 Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey Secretary, of Food, GOI appreciated the initiatives taken up by the State Government to curb the recycling of rice and bogus billing of paddy and suggested FCI replicate such measures in other States. He also directed that constant vigil be kept on the illegal recycling of PDS rice and strict action be taken against delinquents.  He expressed satisfaction with the arrangements made by the State Government for procurement of paddy during KMS 2021-22.

Secretary Food, GOI was also apprised that the State of Punjab is expecting a bumper paddy crop during the current season due to favorable weather conditions at the time of maturation of the crop. As per paddy production estimates of the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Punjab gathered by them through remote sensing, production of 191 LMT of paddy is expected during the KMS 2021-22. The required arrangements for procurement of the same are being made by the State. As the Government of India has fixed a tentative target of procurement of 170 LMT paddy, it was requested to revise the target to 191 LMT paddy during KMS 2021-22.

Union Secretary also reviewed the distribution of subsidized food grains to the identified beneficiaries in the State under Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), Atam Nirbhar Scheme, and National Food Security Act (NFSA) and expressed satisfaction. He stressed that there is an urgent need to bring in improved technological interventions to completely automate all distribution operations in order to ensure transparency and avoid any leakages/diversion in the Public Distribution System. He also asked the State Govt to review the present policy of distribution of six monthly quotas in one go and consider switching to quarterly or monthly distribution of subsidized wheat under the NFSA.