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Food bill plans automation of PDS system

posted Jan 3, 2012, 12:51 AM by Puneet Goyal
TNN Dec 31, 2011, 07.23AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Union minister of state for food and civil supplies KV Thomas said here on Friday that the Food Security Act that is on anvil plans to automate the public distribution system (PDS) in the country.

Participating in a meet the press programme at the Press Club here, the minister said the National Informatics Centre (NIC) would work as a nodal agency for the automation drive that could be implemented using various technologies, depending on states' preferences. "Rs 4000 crore has been set apart for end-to-end computerization of PDS across the country," he said.

According to the minister, the Act would bring into force a three-tier grievance redressal system and there would be panchayat-level vigilance committees to monitor PDS distribution. "The major feature of the proposed Act is that citizens will get legal entitlement for availing government subsidy. As per the proposed Act, all persons in the below poverty line (BPL) category will be entitled to 25-kg of rice/wheat at subsidized rate. The price of rice, wheat and millets will be Rs 3, 2 and 1 per kg," the Union minister said.

The food security bill discussed in parliament urges state governments to start door delivery system for PDS. The bill proposes free distribution of cooked meal in specific quantities and calories to children and lactating mothers, he said.

"The proposed reduction in food grain price would come as a major relief to states like Kerala that provide rice at Rs 2 per kg to BPL card holders. "Currently, the Centre charges Rs 5.65 /per kg of rice given to states. Many states distribute it at a further subsidized rate among the weaker sections," the minister said.

In view of the wide spread complaints about the BPL list that is based on the 2002 census and poverty data, the upcoming Act would adopt the fresh data being generated in the 2011 census, KV Thomas said.