Production of pulses and edible oils will fall short of requirement this year, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas said here on Saturday.
Talking to reporters after inaugurating the centenary building of 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, he said.
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 Central Government will soon computerise the public distribution system – starting from the Food Corporation of India godowns to the State-run ration shops. Every movement will be computerised. The project will be funded equally by the Union government and every State government in the country.
Introduction of computerisation in ration cards system in the States had helped in eliminating a large number of bogus ration cards in the country. Earlier, 20 crore cards were there and with the computerisation the numbers have come down to 18 crore cards, he said.
Pankaj Agarwal, Union Secretary, Consumer Affairs, said the National Test House (NTH) was established in 1912 in Kolkata mainly to meet the needs of the Indian Railways. Over the last century, the NTH opened its 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 of 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 in this regard.
Testing and evaluation of material, calibration of equipment, test and certification of welders,are some of the services rendered by the NTH.