State nod for decentralised procurement policy

Will save time in getting essential commodities in crisis

Mumbai: The State has approved a new decentralised policy for procurement of essential commodities during crisis. Earlier, the State had to take permission from the Centre to procure essential commodities whose prices had risen beyond the reach of the common man.

At present, when prices fluctuate, the State Food and Civil Supplies Department demands a subsidised price list from the Centre and puts up a proposal for procurement with the State government. “But this process takes a long time, and until then the crisis usually has already hit a peak. With a decentralised policy for procurement, we will save a lot of time,” said an official.

Last year, the government had decided to directly procure paddy and rice from farmers and sell it to State fair-price shops, leaving out millers and the Food Corporation of India from the procurement chain. But the move was made possible by switching to the Centre’s scheme of decentralised procurement of food grain, first introduced in 1997-98, for efficiency in procurement and the Public Distribution System (PDS).

The government has already started buying sugar, meant for distribution through PDS every month, through a live centralised e-auction conducted through the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX), an online commodity exchange.

“The auction had received great response and cut out the role of middlemen; it showed us that independent procurement can be done in a fair and transparent way,” said a former secretary of the Food and Civil Supplies Department.

West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala have adopted decentralised policies. Data shows that due to the decentralised process, there has been an increase in procurement of grains in these States.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 4:04:48 PM |

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