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In the next two years, the government today said it will focus on nutritional security of the country's two-third poor population registered with the public distribution system (PDS) under the food law.
The food law aims to provide legal entitlement of 5 kg subsidised foodgrains per person every month at Rs 1-3/kg to 23.3 crore registered members. The law was passed by Parliament in September 2013, during the previous UPA regime.
"The food law was implemented in 2013, then only 11 states had rolled it out. It was done in hurry. In last three years, we have strengthened and implemented it in all states," Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on the occasion of the NDA government's completion of three years in office.
Going forward, he said the government's focus would be on ensuring "nutritional security" of the poor people registered with PDS.
The ministry has chalked out plans for supplying fortified wheat and rice flour via PDS, and seriously deliberating with stakeholders on supplying nutritious food in a cost effective manner.
"I have asked the department to look into the matter. We will work on this proactively next two years," he added.
Stating that PDS reforms are still underway, Paswan said efforts are being made to plug loopholes in the system. Point of sale (PoS) machines are being installed and ration cards have been linked with Aadhaar number, which has helped to eliminate 2.33 crore duplicate ration cards so far.
PoS machines have been installed in 2.4 lakh PDS shops out of 5.45 lakh shops.
Doorstep delivery of foodgrains to PDS outlets are being done in some places, and on pilot, cash instead of grain is being transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiaries in Chandigarh, Puducherry and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, he said, adding that such efforts would be scaled up going forward depending on the states' preparedness.
Wastage of foodgrains in government godowns is coming down and there is abundant stocks to meet the PDS demand for this year, he added.