Conference of Food Secretaries to begin on Monday

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New Delhi, July 11(ANI): A two-day conference of State Food Secretaries on best practices and reforms in Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) will begin here on Monday.

The conference has been called to share best practices in public distribution and achieve their universal adoption, so as to make the public distribution system more efficient, effective and transparent.

The conference will specially focus on identification of beneficiaries, timely distribution of essential commodities, ensuring actual delivery to intended beneficiaries and eliminating diversion, and augmentation of storage capacity at all levels

On the first day of the conference, Food Secretaries will present the best practices in vogue and the reform initiatives undertaken by them.

They will also discuss the reforms required to make TPDS more vibrant and responsive to challenges.

On the second day, working groups comprising State/UT officials will present their recommendations to streamline and strengthen TPDS.

Public Distribution System (PDS) is one of the main components of Union government's foodgrains management policy along with activities relating to procurement of foodgrains, their storage and movement and the maintenance of buffer stocks.

It evolved as a system of management of scarcity and for distribution of foodgrains at affordable prices.

Till 1992, PDS was a general entitlement scheme for all consumers without any specific target.

A Revamped Public Distribution System was launched in June, 1992 with a view to strengthen the PDS as well as to improve its reach in the far-flung, hilly, remote and inaccessible areas where substantial section of the poor live.

Subsequently, Union government launched the TPDS in June, 1997 with focus on the poor.

The scheme, when introduced, was intended to benefit about 5.96 crore poor families.

Today, TPDS provides foodgrains to 6.52 crore Below Poverty Line (BPL) households estimated in the country including 2.43 crore Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families through a network of over 5.03 lakh Fair Price Shops. (ANI)

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