Finance minister Arun Jaitley has proposed to substatially increase the price stabilisation fund from Rs500 crore to Rs900 crore.
Minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan said significant increase in budget allocation for price stabilization fund is a determined step to contain the prices of essential commodities, especially of pulses.
He said the transfer of the fund to consumer affairs ministry shows that the government is very sensitive to keep the prices of these commodities under check, adding that more incentives proposed for the production of pulses will help farmers and consumers.
The fund was set up last year by the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation with a corpus of Rs500 crore to support market interventions for price control of perishable agri-horticultural commodities.
PSF will be used to advance interest-free loan to state governments and central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities. For this purpose, the states set up a revolving fund with equal contribution from centre and state.
The revolving fund was introduced to meet the requirements at the state level itself. Procurement of these commodities will be undertaken directly from farmers or farmers' organisations at farm gate/mandi and made available at a more reasonable price to the consumers.
Outlining the plans , Paswan said his ministry has prepared a time bound action plan to ensure 'minimum government and maximum governance' in various programmes.
By March 2017 'point of sale devices' will be installed to automate three lakh ration shops in the country. In order to ensure transparency and reach to more farmers, procurement operations of FCI will be made online within this year, he said.