With its granaries overflowing and record food production for the third year in a row, the central government Thursday decided to allow states to lift and distribute six months' quota of food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) in one go.
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas has written to the states, requesting them to make the most of the facility of advance lifting of food grains, according to an official statement.
"This will not only ease the problem of additional storage in view of increased procurement but also ensure uninterrupted supply of ration to the beneficiaries," it said.
India's food grain stocks are 71.21 million tonnes as of May 1 with 38.19 million tonnes of wheat and 33 million tonnes of rice, according to the Food Corporation of India.
Thomas has also requested states to ensure lifting of additional allocation of 60 lakh tonnes grains for above poverty line (APL) families and 15.40 lakh tonnes for the poorest districts in 12 states made during 2011-12.
He regretted that states had lifted only 27 percent of the additional grain allocation made during the current year. Further the ministry has asked the states not to force the beneficiaries to lift the additional quota in one go and let them take the grains as per convenience.
In order to ensure transparency, the states have been advised that the bulk distribution may be made as far as possible in the presence of state government officials, representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions, members of vigilance committees in Gram Sabhas and NGOs concerned.