Decision in line with Centre’s nod to plan for ‘decentralised rice procurement’ by State governments, relieving the Food Corporation of India of this responsibility

Rice will be procured directly by the State government from millers from October 15 to meet its requirements for the public distribution system, mid-day meal scheme and other such schemes being implemented to provide food security to the poor.

This decision has been taken in line with the Centre’s instructions to the States to introduce “decentralised procurement system” enabling them to undertake rice procurement to meet their requirements, relieving the Food Corporation of India of this responsibility.

Procurement in 7 districts

A proposal by the State government to go ahead with direct rice procurement through the AP Civil Supplies Corporation as part of the proposed new system was approved by Union Minister of State for Food & Consumer Affairs K. V. Thomas following discussions by him with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and Civil Supplies Minister D. Sridhar Babu at the Secretariat on Monday.

Accordingly, direct rice procurement would be undertaken from October 15 in seven districts, to start with -- Karimnagar, Warangal, Nalgonda, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore and Chittoor -- as an experiment. Civil Supplies Commissioner Harpeet Singh later said the State would sign an MoU with the Centre soon to implement the experiment.

Mr Sridhar Babu said while the State required 40 lakh tonnes of rice annually for PDS and other schemes, it would procure 15 lakh tonnes under the experiment.

Normal system in other districts

Answering questions, the Minister clarified that the normal system, however, would be followed in all districts for paddy procurement through self-help groups of women, primary agriculture cooperative societies, farmers’ societies and district central marketing societies, offering MSP.

He said the government had opted to introduce the decentralised system to procure rice only in phases because it lacked trained personnel.

Now, all vacancies would be filled and personnel trained to extend the experiment to other districts.

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