The All India Rice Miller Association (AIRMA) has sought transparency in procurement, storage and distribution of foodgrains, reducing huge losses in storage and transportation and weeding out corruption in restructuring of the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
An AIRMA delegation led by its president Tarsem Saini met Member of Parliament (MP) Shanta Kumar, the chairman of the High Power Restructuring Committee formed by the BJP government for restructuring the FCI, with their demands.
During the meeting, AIRMA members said it was the high time that while recommending the restructuring of FCI, the aspect of introducing computerised electronic technology in analysis of foodgrains in FCI operations at the time of procurement, storage and distribution should be looked into by the restructuring committee.
"The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) may be advised to recommend these instrumental techniques for the analysis of foodgrains," they said.
"The FCI procures foodgrains as per uniform specifications and by following the BIS, which is outdated. The FCI follows the old manual procedure for physical as well as chemical analysis of foodgrains. The human discretion and error in analysis of foodgrains as per the BIS methodology sometimes leads to corruption in the FCI at the time of procurement, storage and distribution," said Saini.
Thus the committee must recommended the use of latest electronic computerised machines like moisture meters, protein analysers, seed counting machines, rice whiteness testing machines etc for physical and chemical analysis of foodgrains to eliminate chances of human error and discretion by officials.
"This will promote efficiency in the quality control system of the FCI and eliminate corruption. Moreover, the consumers will get better quality of foodgrains from the FCI depots," said Saini.
Saini pointed towards shortcomings in the weighing of stocks by the FCI, which led to losses to government and rice millers. "Various agricultural universities in the country are introducing new hybrid seeds almost every year, but the rice specifications of these varieties are not separately taken into consideration. Thus the committee should take note of this that specifications must come with verities," he said.
The rice millers also raised the demand of construction of modern silos near mandies for the storage of wheat stocks to reduce the cost of transportation and jute bags, besides they also sought overhauling of the FCI distribution system.
Saini said the stocks of foodgrains should be issued to the beneficiaries on six-monthly basis instead of monthly-basis through the government-owned shops instead of depots of state agencies to curtail the storage and maintenance charges.
The rice millers also urged the government to consider their suggestion while framing the annual procurement policy of rice and wheat crops.