Food law that aims to provide legal right over highly subsidised foodgrains to the 67 per cent of the population, was passed in Parliament in September last year. Currently, the legislation is being implemented in 10 states.
    
"With the enactment of food security act, there is a need to augment procurement of foodgrains. The committee therefore urged FCI to play its due role effectively and expand its procurement activity for maintaining its percentage of share in procurement," the Parliamentary panel said in its 29th report placed before the Lok Sabha.
    
Noting that FCI's share in procurement has been gradually coming down, the panel said while wheat procurement has come down from 52.88 lakh tonnes in 2008-09 to 39.7 lakh tonnes in 20011-12, paddy procurement has fallen from 18.55 lakh tones in 2006-07 to to 2.84 lakh tonnes in 2011-12, it said.
    
The panel suggested FCI to set up more procurement centers and ensure farmers do no involve in distress sale.
     
FCI is the government's nodal agency that procures and distributes foodgrains on behalf of the government. State agencies are also involved in procurement operations.
    
To implement the law, foodgrains requirement has been pegged at 62 million tonnes, while the cost to the government is estimated to be around Rs 1,30,000 crore.

To ensure payments for procurement from farmers are made only through cheques, the panel suggested issuing strict instructions with suitable punitive clauses.
     
It recommended FCI to take immediate actions to ensure that planned storage capacity is created without delay. It said out of box solutions are required to expedite creation of storage facilities in north eastern states.
    
Since the food law has come into being and the latest census figures are available, the panel suggested the government to revise the minimum buffer norms for foodgrains storage.
     
According to existing norms, the FCI can maintain a maximum foodgrain stock of 26 million tonnes. The limit has not been revised since April 2005.

(Agencies)

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