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AGRICULTURE - 03

BUFFER STOCK

The concept of buffer stock was first introduced during the IVth Five Year Plan (1969-74). Buffer stock of food grains is the Central Pool which is maintained by the Government of India (GOI) / Central Government for:

  • Meeting the prescribed minimum buffer stock norms for food security
  • monthly release of food grains for supply through Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS)
  • Meeting emergency situations arising out of unexpected crop failure, natural disasters, etc., and
  • Price stabilisation or market intervention to augment supply so as to help moderate the open market prices.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs fixes the minimum buffer norms on quarterly basis: i.e as on 1st April, 1st July, 1st October and 1st January of every financial year. On 15 December 2015, it was decided by the Government to create a buffer stock of pulses of 1.5 lakh tonnes to control fluctuation of prices of pulses.

Government has engaged National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED), Small Farmers Agri-business Consortium (SFAC) and Food Corporation of India (FCI) to procure pulses for buffer stock. Food grains stock in the Central Pool consists of stock held by Food Corporation of India (FCI), states participating in the Decentralised Procurement Scheme and the state government agencies (SGAs) for both buffer and operational requirements.

PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM AND FOOD SUBSIDY

PDS is a Government – Sponsored chain of shops entrusted with the work of distributing the basic food and non-food commodities to the needy sections of the society at very cheap price. Public distribution system was started by Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies. Public Distribution System is a network whereby accessibility of vital supplies is guaranteed which can be easily accessed by the consumers in every part of the country. This is a transaction system where food grain, sugar, and other needed items such as kerosene oil and edible oil are made available to the people of the state at fair price to meet their minimum needs. In India,  PDS in working since 1960s.

In 1992, Revamped PDS – streamline the PDS and improve its reach to poor families especially in the far-flung, hilly and remote areas.

In 1997, TARGETED PDS – to provide food grains to people under below poverty line at much lower price.

In 2000,  ANTYODAYA ANNA YOJANA –  Introduced for poorest of the poor sections of the people. It provides food grains of 35 kg / month per household at a highly subsidized rate of Rs 2kg of wheat and Rs.3/kg of rice.

FAIR PRICE SHOP MEANS A SHOP which has been licensed to distribute essential commodities, to the ration card holders under the Targeted Public Distribution System. The term is defined in Section 2(4) of National Food Security Act, 2013. It is the responsibility of every State Government to establish institutionalised licensing arrangements for fair price shops in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2001 made under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, as amended from time to time for efficient operations of the Targeted Public Distribution System.

NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY ACT 2013

  • The objective to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.
  • The Act provides for coverage of up to 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized food grains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), thus covering about two-thirds of the population.
  • The eligible persons will be entitled to receive 5 Kgs of food grains per person per month at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains. The existing Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households, which constitute the poorest of the poor, will continue to receive 35 Kgs of food grains per household per month.
  • The Act also has a special focus on the nutritional support to women and children. Besides meal to pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and six months after the child birth, such women will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
  • Children up to 14 years of age will be entitled to nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional standards. In case of non-supply of entitled food grains or meals, the beneficiaries will receive food security allowance.
  • The Act also contains provisions for setting up of grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels. Separate provisions have also been made in the Act for ensuring transparency and accountability.

ONE NATION ONE RATION CARD SCHEME

Integrated Management of Public Distribution System was started from 2018. The main objective of the scheme is to introduce nation-wide portability of ration card holders under National Food Security Act , through ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ system. This system enables the migratory ration card holders to lift their entitled food grains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice in the country by using their existing ration card issued in their home States after biometric authentication on electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices installed at the Fair price shops.

FOOD PRODUCTION AND AGRICULTURAL INPUTS

The various inputs for agriculture is land, water (irrigation), seeds, fertilizers, farm machines, labour etc. This section deals with the inputs such as irrigation, fertilizers and machinery needed for agriculture.

In 1960s the need to drastically increase the food production manifold was felt in order to meet the requirements of the population. Hence Green Revolution was introduced in 1965.

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