Contending that strengthening of the Public Distribution System will play a major role in controlling spiralling prices of essential commodities, Tamil Nadu suggested implementation of steps like biometric identification to eliminate bogus-card and e-governance solution to the PDS administration.

Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Thursday said, technological intervention can alone improve the public delivery system by plugging leakages and suggested taking steps like biometric identification to eliminate bogus-card, billing machine with smart card reader to eliminate bogus billing and e-governance solution to the PDS administration.

“Tamil Nadu is ready to implement such project… since the Director General of Census is also planning to capture biometric data while carrying out total population register,” Mr. Stalin said, addressing the meeting of the core group of state Chief Ministers on price rise convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here.

“I suggest that the Government of India may issue instructions for taking up the biometric capture of data as per UIDAI standards jointly by the states and Census Department to avoid duplication of work. The expenditure may be shared. This will go a long way in improving the PDS administration,” he said.

Mr. Stalin said there is an apprehension that the price of commodities like pulse may go up due to demand-supply mismatch and demanded the Centre to formulate a strategy to strengthen the PDS as a short term measure to control prices.

“This Core Group should focus on the strategy for increasing the production as a long term measure and strengthen the Public Distribution System as a short term measure,” he said.

He said to increase productivity; cultivation of pulses should be promoted as a mono crop instead of treating it as a marginal crop.

“A fair remunerative price should be fixed for pulses as there is a vast gap between the minimum support price and the actual market price. This will encourage farmers to cultivate pulses. Special programme should be launched for improving the production in rain-fed areas as pulses are mostly grown as rain-fed crops,” he said.

The DMK leader suggested that ‘farmers market’ like ’Uzhavar Santhai’ in Tamil Nadu may be promoted and cooperatives may be encouraged to intervene in the market at the time of crisis to bridge the price gap.

Mr. Stalin said the Centre may increase the allocation of rice under APL category to all needy states to ensure that adequate quantity of food grains are made available to PDS.

“This will also ease the storage problem for the central agencies while assuring availability of stock with the state agencies to cover the vulnerable APL families under PDS.”

Mr. Stalin said since private sector is not keen to invest in warehouses and in certain areas where the state requires strategic buffer storage space, a new scheme may be launched by the Centre to augment warehousing facilities, with 50 per cent subsidy grant to the State Warehousing Corporations, State Civil Supplies Corporation and Cooperatives.

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