Shillong, Nov 18: Meghalaya Minister for the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs, James Sangma on Thursday inaugurated a one day awareness programme on National Food Security Act 2013, One Nation One Ration Card and Consumer Protection Act, 2019 at Yojana Bhavan, Main Secretariat, Shillong.
The programme organized by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department was held as part of the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsava” campaign celebrating 75 years of Indian Independence.
On the occasion two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed between the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department and the UN-World Food Programme and the Common Service Centre-SPV in an effort to streamline and strengthen the public distribution system.
On behalf of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department, the MoUs were signed by the Principal Secretary of the Department while the Deputy Country Director of World Food Programme, Eric Kenefick and the Regional Head Common Service Centre, Gyan Doley signed on behalf of the UN-World Food Programme and the Common Service Centre-SPV respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Sangma termed the signing of the MoUs as a landmark achievement which will go a long way in augmenting food security in the State.
“The synergy between the World Food Programme and CSC will immensely benefit the countless numbers of beneficiaries across the State through better services which will bring about better transparency and accountability,” he added.
The Minister said that although India has the largest food security system in the world, the Sustainable Development Goal 2 of zero hunger is a big challenge and concerted efforts of all stakeholders is crucial to achieve the goal.
The Minister informing that the government had recently initiated the formation of the Commission for Consumer Dispute and Grievances Redressal which will serve people in airing their grievances with regards to social issues, especially with their entitled benefits from the State, believed that this platform will go a long way in empowering the people of the State.
He also informed that in line with the Digital India Mission, the Department had implemented the FPS Automated Project by installing the Electronic Point of Sale Device in over 4500 Fair Price Shops across the State and this has helped in bringing about greater transparency and efficiency in terms of the operation of Fair Price Shops and also enhanced food security in terms of controlling malpractices.
Dr. Shakil P. Ahammed, Principal Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department, informed that India has the largest food security system in the world which proved its efficacy even during the pandemic, wherein 5 kgs of rice was distributed to low income families free of cost.
More than 79 percent of households, particularly in rural areas depend on fair price shops for their rations.
Informing that Meghalaya is the first state in the East to have entered into an agreement with the UN-World Food Programme for strengthening the supply chain management, creating an automatic system and ensuring transparency and system improvement in the public distribution system, he opined that the general masses will be greatly benefited from the streamlining of the PDS system.
With regard to CSC, Dr. Ahammed also stressed on the need to train PDS shop owners and build the system so that it works seamlessly.
On the occasion, a Certificate of Appreciation was also awarded to Abilash Baranwadi, SDO Amlarem, for his commendable effort in pushing forward the seeding of AADHAR with ration -cards and for achieving the highest Epoch transactions in the State.