Discuss the current institutional framework around food grain management and public distribution system.
Public distribution system
The Government of India enacted the Food security act with the objective of distributing food and non-food items to India’s poor at subsidized rates. Such distributions include staple food grains i.e. wheat, rice, sugar, and other commodities like kerosene, through fair price shops which are known as ration shops. The public distribution system (PDS) is maintained by the Food Corporation of India.
Food grain management system
The food grain management system has many objectives like the Procurement of food grains from farmers at remunerable prices; distribution of food grains to the consumers & vulnerable sections of the society; maintaining Buffer Stock for adverse circumstances; food security and price stability, etc.
- Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, which recommends MSP for procurement. MSP of various agricultural commodities is decided after taking into account the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, state governments’ suggestions, views of ministries, and other factors associated with it.
- The Food Corporation of India which is a statutory body under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs maintains many types of depots like food storage depots and buffer storage complexes and private equity godowns for storing rice and wheat.
- Under TPDS, the Central government is responsible for procurement, allocation, and transportation of the food grains up to the designated depots of the Food Corporation of India. The food grains transported by the center to state and UT depots are distributed to eligible beneficiaries by states. They also have responsibilities for identification of the eligible beneficiaries, issuing ration cards to them, supervision and monitoring of the Fair Price Shops, etc.
The TPDS and fair price shops are regulated under the TPDS Control Order, and PDS (Control) Order rules, which are updated from time to time. The licenses to FPS are issued by the designated authority appointed of the concerned State Governments.
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