The production of pulses and edible oils will fall short of the requirement this year, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas said on Saturday.

Talking to reporters after inaugurating the centenary building of the National Test House (southern region) at Taramani, Mr. Thomas said rice, wheat and sugar production would be at comfortable levels, and the assessment of both the Meteorology Department and the Ministry of Agriculture showed that this year, the production of rice and wheat would be same as that of last year. Last year, 103 million tonnes of rice was produced in the country and 94 tonnes of wheat.

Discussions with various State governments have been held for procurement of rice and wheat and arrangements have been made for that. The Union Ministry of Food and Public Distribution will hold another meeting with all the State Food and Public Distribution officials in New Delhi on October 29 and 30 in which procurement details would be discussed further, he said.

Computerisation of PDS

The Centre would soon computerise the public distribution system – starting from the Food Corporation of India godowns to the State-run ration shops. Every movement would be computerised. The project would be funded equally by the Union Government and State governments.

The introduction of computerisation in ration cards system in the States had helped to eliminate a large number of bogus ration cards in the country. Earlier, 20 crore cards were there and with the computerisation the numbers had come down to 18 crore.

Pankaj Agarwal, Union Secretary, Consumer Affairs, said the National Test House (NTH) was established in 1912 at Kolkata mainly to meet the needs of the Indian Railways. Over the last century, it opened regional laboratories at Mumbai, Chennai, Ghaziabad, Jaipur and Guwahati, catering to the needs of various industries.

Speaking on the occasion M. P. Nirmala, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, sought the help of NTH for testing the quality of mixers, grinders and table fans by the State Government. Mr. Agarwal assured all possible help from the NTH.

Testing and evaluation of material, calibration of equipment, test and certification of welders, are some of the services rendered by the NTH.

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