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Centre says Raj govt must take advantage of 1-yr free internet given to ration shops under BNS

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New Delhi/Jaipur, Apr 6 (PTI) To address poor internet service at ration shops in Rajasthan, Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey on Tuesday said the state government must take advantage of one-year free net connectivity given to ration shops under the Centre's Bharat Net Scheme (BNS).

Pandey, who visited Jaipur, Ajmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur and reviewed the functioning and implementation of the public distribution system (PDS), said the internet issue at ration shops -- also called fair price shops (FPS) -- can be resolved by taking advantage of the BNS.

'During his visit to Udaipur, local administration apprised problems of net connectivity in remote areas. He informed them that the Department of Telecommunication has promised to give one-year free connectivity to FPS under BNS and the Rajasthan government must take immediate advantage and ensure connectivity,' an official statement said.

The secretary visited local ration shops and reviewed the progress of the depot online system, CCTV surveillance system, solar power initiatives, quality control system, and distribution of foodgrains through biometric authentication.

On implementation of ration card portability facility One Nation One Ration Card, Pandey said Rajasthan is having a ceiling of 4.46 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), out of which Aadhaar seeding has been completed for 4.22 crore under ONORC.

The secretary advised the state to cover deprived categories like divyang persons, NSAP (National Social Assistance Programme) beneficiaries, urban poor, street dwellers, etc.

In a meeting with the state chief secretary, Pandey discussed various issues like augmentation of storage capacity in Rajasthan, distribution of millets in PDS, encouraging the production of ethanol as an alternative fuel, geo-tagging and geo-fencing of FPS shops.

The Rajasthan government's proposal to link death and birth registration with the NFSA database was also discussed in the meeting.

To reduce import dependence on edible oils, Pandey asked the state government to make an industry-friendly policy for the oil milling industry so that more and modern capacity is added.

With regard to ensuring rabi procurement, the state was asked to integrate their procurement system and develop an app-based tracking system to track the movement of grain after dispatch from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) depot till the FPS.

In another meeting, the secretary advised the FCI to explore ways to enhance storage capacities by adding silo and by increasing stack height.

Pandey said fortified rice testing should be added and the state government capacity be also improved by organising a training programme in collaboration with Indian Grain Storage Management and Research Institute (IGMRI), Hapur.

A millet section should also be added in all relevant districts for testing in Rajasthan as well as in other states, he added.

The secretary held another review meeting with officers of Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) in Rajasthan.

The CWC has set up 28 warehousing complexes in Rajasthan and recently developed 68,000-tonne capacities and planning another 4 lakh tonne in the state.

'It was advised to put more focus on Silo construction as this mode of storage is most suitable in Rajasthan both for distribution within as well outside the state,' the statement said.

Present capacities of CWC are taken over mainly by FCI, NAFED and CCI. CWC assured to make Rs 150 crore investment in 10 districts of Rajasthan as identified. In addition, in their own surplus land, they would undertake Silo construction under the FCI scheme in areas bordering Haryana. PTI LUX BAL BAL