RULING OUT the possibility of increase in prices of foodgrains under the public distribution system (PDS), Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal on Thursday said there is no such proposal to increase prices of products given under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
Replying to a question during an online interaction with the media, Goyal said, “At present, there is no such proposal before the ministry to increase prices of products given under the Food Security Act. It continues to be at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Re 1 for rice, wheat and coarse grains [respectively].” He was asked whether there is any plan to hike PDS rates this year in view of recommendations made in Economic Survey 2020-21.
Observing that food subsidy is becoming “unmanageably large”, the Survey had recommended the revision of the Central Issue Prices (CIP) of foodgrains released from the central pool, which have been kept unchanged for the past several years. The CIP is the price at which the government makes available foodgrains for the beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act, 2013 and other welfare schemes to the states from the central pool.
Sharing updates about the government’s ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme, Goyal said it was the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The initiative will benefit the poor people who migrate from one place to another… The project has been implemented promptly and about 70 crore beneficiaries have come on board,” he said. According to the Food Ministry, 32 states and Union Territories had come on board to implement the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme. The integration of the remaining four states/UT (Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal) is targeted up to March 31, Goyal said.
He refused to answer a question about the next meeting between the government and protesting farmer unions.
Sharing details of reforms in the field of procurement and storage of foodgrains, Additional Secretary in the Department of Food and Public Distribution Edwin Kulbhushan Majhi said, “The Government of India has directed the state governments of Haryana and Punjab to ensure online payments to farmers through e-mode from the upcoming season.”
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