Economy

Support prices, PDS are here to stay, says Montek

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 30, 2012 Published on October 28, 2012

Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Sharad Pawar flanked by Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia at the Conference of Food Ministers/ Secretaries of States and UTs in the Capital on Tuesday. – S. Subramanium

Pilot soon on direct cash transfer of food subsidy in 6 UTs





The Government will continue with buying foodgrains through minimum support price (MSP) programme as well as the public distribution system (PDS), even as it considers direct cash transfer for food subsidy to plug leakages.

Allaying fears of some States that had voiced concern over the proposed direct cash transfer, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Tuesday that the MSP and PDS systems will continue.

Shrugging off criticism that the Government was dismantling the PDS by introducing direct cash transfer of subsidy, Ahluwalia said, “This is completely wrong, because there is no question of dismantling the MSP.” He was addressing a conference of State Ministers and secretaries on strengthening PDS.

Food ministers and secretaries from 18 States are attending the two-day event to discuss various aspects of targeted PDS.

Ahluwalia said the Government would continue public procurement of foodgrain and sell it without subsidy through the PDS. He said the cash for food subsidy would be transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries to plug leakages.

Pilot schemes

Food Minister K.V. Thomas said a pilot scheme of direct transfer of cash subsidy would soon be taken up in about six Union territories to assess the efficacy of the proposed model.

Urging States to plug leakages, Thomas asked them to improve the viability of fair price shops, take steps to deliver foodgrain at the door step, improve storage capacity and use technology to track movement and transaction of foodgrain.

PDS Portal

A national PDS portal was launched by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday. The portal www.pdsportal.nic.in contains information relating to fair price shops, ration cards attached to such shops and information such as the monthly allocation orders, State-specific commodity sale prices and position on offtake, among others.

The portal will also contain information on Food Corporation of India and State storage godowns with capacity utilisation and data on Central pool stocks.

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Published on October 28, 2012
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