The Centre has convened a meeting on Monday with state governments to discuss ways to revamp the public distribution system (PDS), which is critical for the success of the proposed Food Security Act.
The two-day conference on July 12 and 13, will be inaugurated by Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, focus on reforms required to make the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) more vibrant and responsive to challenges.
The minister will also launch a pilot project on smartcard-based delivery of essential commodities via ration shops, being introduced in Haryana and Chandigarh.
PDS, which supplies ration to 6.5 crore poor, is currently plagued by diversion and leakages. The Centre will deliberate with the state food secretaries the ways to eliminate diversion and ensure timely distribution of ration supplies to the targeted poor.
This apart, the conference will discuss about the identification of beneficiaries, transparent selection of ration shops, use of technology in monitoring the supplies and creating public awareness and setting up of an effective grievance redressal mechanism.
The conference assumes importance against the backdrop of pro-active policy (National Food Security Act) being pursued by the government to ensure supply of fixed quantity of foodgrains to poor people every month through PDS.