Ram Vilas Paswan, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has urged the Assam Government to speed up implementation of Food Security Act so that about 84 per cent of rural and 60 per cent of urban population in the State can get rice at Rs 3 per kg and wheat at Rs 2 per kg.
He said that the implementation of the Act was delayed in the State as digitisation of records of beneficiaries which is mandatory for the implementation of the Act was not done by the State. Finally it has come into force in Assam from December last and over 2.52 crore people in the State now will be benefited with subsidised foodgrains. Paswan was interacting with media after inaugurating the official building of Nation Test House in Guwahati.
Paswan said the Centre is keen that beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act get entitled foodgrains positively hence 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 per cent (75 per cent 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 and they get coarse grains Rs1/kg, wheat at Rs2/kg and rice at Rs 3/kg.
The Minister said to make the system more transparent and leak proof, online allocation of foodgrains has been implemented in 20 states/UTs. About 71,000 FPS have been automated by installing ‘Point of Sale ‘devices.
Supporting demands for subsidized foodgrains to tea garden workers, Paswan said that benefit of this heavily subsidized foodgrains should also be passed on to the tea garden workers who were earlier not getting direct benefit of PDS as bulk allocation of food grains was being made to tea garden management only.
Union Food Minister said that North East is priority area for his ministry. Adequate supply of foodgrains was ensured using multi-modal transport in North Eastern States during disruption in rail route due to gauge conversion from Lumding to Badarpur. 80,000MT foodgrains moved through roads every month besides creating additional storage of 20,000 MT in the region. Foodgrains also inducted into Tripura via riverine route passing through Bangladesh. Storage capacity of 62,650 MT has been created in North East under Plan Scheme.
New building inaugurated by the Minister is equipped with the advance facilities for testing Civil Engineering and Chemical materials. He said the Test House in Guwahati will be upgraded with new facilities to cater demands of the industries located in the North-East.
The National Test House (NTH) with its headquarters at Kolkata is a Government laboratory of national 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 National Standards since independence. The objective of NTH is to improve Indian Products to meet the requirements of National/International Standards for their acceptability in the global market. The NTH with its headquarters in Kolkata functions through six regional laboratories located in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Ghaziabad, Jaipur and Guwahati.