Two memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed between the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department and the United Nations’ World Food Programme and the Common Service Centre-SPV in an effort to streamline and strengthen the public distribution system today.
The MoUs were signed by the Principal Secretary while the Deputy Country Director of the WFP, Eric Kenefick, and the Regional Head of the Common Service Centre, Gyan Doley.
Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs, James Sangma termed the signing of the MoUs as a landmark achievement which will go a long way in augmenting food security in Meghalaya. The synergy between the WFP and CSC will immensely benefit the countless numbers of beneficiaries across the state through better services, which will bring about better transparency and accountability, he added.
Although India has the largest food security system in the world, the Sustainable Development Goal 2 of zero hunger is a big challenge and concerted efforts of all stakeholders is crucial to achieve the goal, he reiterated.
The minister informed that the government had recently initiated the formation of the Commission for Consumer Dispute and Grievances Redressal, which will serve people in airing their grievances with regards to social issues, especially with their entitled benefits from the state. He also informed that in line with the Digital India Mission, the department had implemented the FPS Automated Project by installing the electronic point of sale devices in over 4,500 fair price shops.
Shakil P Ahammed, Principal Secretary, said that the public distribution system proved its efficacy even during the pandemic, wherein 5kg of rice was distributed to low income families free of cost. More than 79 per cent of households, particularly in rural areas, depend on fair price shops for their rations.
Informing that Meghalaya is the first state in the east to have entered into an agreement with the WFP to strengthen supply chain management, create an automatic system and ensure transparency and system improvement in the public distribution system, he opined that the masses will benefit from the streamlining of the PDS system.
Meanwhile, the department also organised a one day awareness programme on the National Food Security Act 2013, One Nation One Ration Card and Consumer Protection Act 2019.
The programme was held as part of the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsava” campaign celebrating 75 years of Indian independence.
On the occasion, a certificate of appreciation was also awarded to Abilash Baranwadi, Sub-Divisional Officer of Amlarem, for his effort in pushing forward the seeding of Aadhaar with ration cards and for achieving the highest epoch transactions in the state.