Centre working on integration of PDS, national portability of ration cards

The ministry of consumer affairs, food and public distribution has launched a new central sector scheme, namely, `Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS’ for implementation during 2018-19 and 2019-20. 

The scheme aims to integrate the existing PDS systems/portals of states/UTs with the central systems/portals, introduce National Portability of ration cards allowing holders to lift foodgrains from any fair price shop (FPS) across the country, and also national level de-duplication of ration cards/beneficiary.
While giving this information in the Lok Sabha, minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution Danve Raosaheb Dadarao also said the government is closely monitoring prices of essential commodities in the country.
Fluctuations in the all India daily average retail prices of 22 essential food items, including vegetables, in recent months showed that prices have been affected inter-alia by mismatch in demand and supply, shortfall in production owing to adverse weather conditions and seasonality, increased transportation costs, supply chain constraints like lack of storage facilities, artificial shortage created by hoarding and black marketing, etc, the minister pointed out.
He said the government has taken various measures from time to time to stabilise prices of essential food items which, inter-alia, include appropriately utilising trade and fiscal policy instruments like import duty and export management through instruments like minimum export price, export restrictions, etc to regulate domestic availability and moderate prices; imposition of stock limits.
States have also been advised to take effective action against hoarders and black marketers and promulgation of appropriate minimum support prices to incentivize farmers for increasing production. 
The government, he said, is also implementing schemes which, inter alia, include Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), etc. for increasing agricultural production and productivity through appropriate interventions. 
Besides, the government is also implementing Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) to help moderate the volatility in prices of agri-horticultural commodities like pulses, onion, and potato. Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is implementing scheme `Operation Greens’ for integrated development of tomato, onion and potato (TOP) value chain which, inter alia, has the objective of price stabilisation for producers and consumers through production planning in the TOP clusters and introduction of dual use varieties.
The minister said the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) has been implemented in all states/UTs and operations of PDS are now governed as per the provision of the Act. Under the NFSA, the government has set a limit of extending the coverage up to 75 per cent of rural population and up to 50 per cent of urban population; the percentage coverage for each state has to be determined by the central government and the total number of persons to be covered in such rural and urban areas of the state shall be calculated on the basis of the population estimates as per the census. Accordingly the central government makes allocation of foodgrains for each state/UT. However, there is no provision in the Act for giving priority to any particular area or region or activity under PDS, he added.