By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Feb 19: Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan today urged the Assam government to speed up implementation of the Food Security Act.
He said that the implementation of the Act was delayed in the State as digitization of records of beneficiaries mandatory for the implementation of the Act, was not done by the State.
“Filly it has come into force in Assam from December last and over 2.52 crore people in the State now will be benefited with subsidized foodgrains,” Paswan said interacting with mediapersons after iugurating the official building of tiol Test House in Guwahati today.
Paswan said the Centre is keen that beneficiaries of the tiol Food Security Act get entitled foodgrains positively and so it has notified rules for payment of Food Security Allowance to the beneficiary in the case of non-delivery of foodgrains to them. The Central government also decided to share 50% (75% in the case of hilly and difficult areas) of the cost of handling & transportation of foodgrains incurred by the States and the dealers’ margin so that it is not passed on to the beneficiaries who get coarse grains at Rs1/kg, wheat at Rs2/kg and rice at Rs 3/kg.
The Minister said that to make the system more transparent and leakage proof, online allocation of foodgrains has been implemented in 20 states and UTs. About 71,000 FPS have been automated by installing ‘Point of Sale ‘devices. Toll free help lines have been installed in 32 States and UTs and online grievance redressal implemented in all 36 States and UTs. Transparency portal to display all operations of TPDS have been launched in 28 States and UTs.
Supporting demands for subsidized foodgrains to tea garden workers, Paswan said that benefit of heavily subsidized foodgrains should also be passed on to tea garden workers who were earlier not getting direct benefit of PDS, as bulk allocation of food grains was being made to tea garden magement only.
“That is why for the first time, tea garden workers have also been made eligible to receive foodgrain under Public Distribution System. 17.97 lakh tea garden workers have started receiving food grain under the NFSA. Monthly allocation of 12,590 tons of foodgrains to the State government is being made by Government of India for distribution among tea garden workers,” he said.
Tea garden workers are now enjoying entitlements under NFSA, as well as monthly allocation of 32.56 kg foodgrains per family through traditiol way.
The new building of tiol Test House iugurated by the minister today is equipped with advance facilities for testing civil engineering and chemical materials. He said the Test House in Guwahati will be upgraded with new facilities to cater to demands of industries located in the Northeast.
The tiol Test House (NTH), with its headquarters at Kolkata, is a Government laboratory of tiol importance in the field of testing and evaluation of material and products of all engineering branches except food, pharmaceuticals and arms and ammunitions. It is also providing calibration services and actively assists BIS in the formulation of tiol Standards.