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Electronic Weighing Machines at Fair Price Shops

  • 22 Jun 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

The Central Government has asked the States Governments to buy electronic weighing machines for ration shops from electronic Point of Sale devices (ePoS) savings.

  • For this, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has amended the Food Security (Assistance To State Government Rules) 2015 to encourage the states to generate savings through judicious use of e-PoS devices.

Key Points

  • About the Food Security (Assistance to State Government Rules) 2015:
    • Additional Margin to Fair Price Shops: The rules were notified to give additional margin to fair price shop dealers for sale through e-PoS as an incentive to ensure transparent recording of transactions at all levels.
      • The margin on food grain sold through ePoS is provided as “Fair Price Shop dealers margin”.
      • It is meant to go towards the cost of purchase, operation and maintenance of the point of sale device, its running expenses and incentive for its use.
    • Benefits of Amendment:
      • The integration of ePoS devices with electronic weighing scales will ensure the right quantity to beneficiaries in the distribution of subsidised food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 as per their entitlement.
      • It will ensure greater transparency in the Public distribution system (PDS) regime. It will reduce food grain leakages.
      • The distribution through ePoS devices ensures that subsidised food grains are provided to the rightful beneficiary through biometric authentication.
  • National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013
    • Notified on: 10th September, 2013
    • Objective: To provide for food and nutritional security in the human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantities of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.
    • Coverage: 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
      • Overall, NFSA caters to 67% of the total population.
      • NITI Aayog has recommended reducing the rural and urban coverage under the NFSA to 60% and 40%, respectively.
    • Eligibility:
      • Priority Households to be covered under TPDS, according to guidelines by the State government.
      • Households covered under existing Antyodaya Anna Yojana.
    • Provisions:
      • 5 Kgs of foodgrains per person per month at Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains.
      • The existing AAY household will continue to receive 35 Kgs of foodgrains per household per month.
      • Meal and maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000 to pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and six months after the child birth.
      • Meals to children upto 14 years of age.
      • Food security allowance to beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
      • Setting up of grievance redressal mechanisms at the district and state level.
  • Public Distribution System (PDS):
    • The PDS is an Indian food Security System established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.
      • PDS evolved as a system of management of scarcity through distribution of food grains at affordable prices.
      • In June, 1997, the Government of India launched the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) with focus on the poor.
    • Functioning:
      • The Central and State Governments share responsibilities in order to provide food grains to the identified beneficiaries.
      • The centre procures food grains from farmers at a minimum support price (MSP) and sells it to states at central issue prices. It is responsible for transporting the grains to godowns in each state.
      • States bear the responsibility of transporting food grains from these godowns to each fair price shop (ration shop), where the beneficiary buys the food grains at the lower central issue price.
        • Many states further subsidise the price of food grains before selling it to beneficiaries.

Source: TH

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