Government ropes in Quality Council for grain management

Economy


The government plans to modernise the public distribution system to ensure global quality food grains reach most households in the country by bringing in IT-enabled processes for end-to-end tracking from procurement to distribution.

It has roped in Quality Council of India (QCI), a public-private body for quality promotion and accreditation services, to help upgrade the system, a food ministry official said.

“QCI will review and upgrade existing standards’ system to introduce the best global practices to bring end-to-end digitisation and traceability. Quality management at every level is mandatory to ensure that 67% of the population which buy subsidised ration gets nutritious quality food.”

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He said that the government will identify, create, and deploy solutions that cover every part of the food-grain supply chain, from farmers to end consumers.

“QCI will undertake third party certification of food grains procured, stored and distributed for fair assessment,” he said.

Recently, Food Corporation of India (FCI), the apex agency which procures and distributes food grains, had recommended upgradation in specification of grains procured under central pool. It has batted for a reduction in moisture content from 14% to 12% for wheat stating that it will enhance the shelf life of wheat in conformity with the scientific preservation. It has also recommended a reduction in permissible limit of foreign matter from 0.75% to 0.5%.

“The recommendations are yet to be approved by the food ministry. However, officials say that if these norms are accepted then government will be able to distribute quality food grains,” he said.

FCI has also suggested that state governments should test the residual toxicity of pesticides used in the field before procurement so that indiscriminate usage of various pesticides could be regularised, and suggested various measures in this regard.

“The end to end computerisation of godowns and digitisation of processes will bring transparency in the system. This will also reduce wastage,” he said.



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