Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution of India

Consumer Affairs

  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is a ministry with two departments – the Department of Food and Public Distribution and the Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • Consumer Awareness: Jago Grahak Jago” has today become a household axiom.
  • The Consumer Welfare Fund was created in 1992 with the objective of providing financial assistance to promote and protect the welfare of the consumer.
  • National Consumer Helpline (NCH) is a project that operates under the Centre for Consumer Studies at Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA). It was set up in 2004.
  • The National Test House (NTH) is a premier test and quality evaluation laboratory for industrial, engineering and consumer products under the administrative control of the Government of India since the year 1912 at Alipore, Kolkata.
  • The DCA operates a Price Monitoring Cell (PMC) tasked with monitoring prices of select essential commodities.

Consumer Protection Act, 1986

  • Consumer Protection Act, 1986 established the three tier quasi-judicial consumer dispute redress machinery at the national, state and district levels aimed at providing simple, speedy and affordable redress to consumers.
  • This includes the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (National Commission) at the apex level; 35 state consumer disputes redressal commissions (state commissions) and 679 District Consumer Disputes Redressal Fora (district forum).

Bureau Of Indian Standards (BIS)

  • A new Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act 2016 came into force from 2017. The Act establishes the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the national Standards Body of India.
  • The new Act also allows multiple type of simplified conformity assessment schemes including self- declaration of conformity against a standard which will give simplified options to manufacturers to adhere to the standards and get certificate of conformity.
  • The Bureau has its headquarters in New Delhi.

Food and Public Distribution

  • Food Corporation of India (FCI), with the help of state government agencies, procures wheat, paddy and coarse grains in various states in order to provide price support to the farmers.
  • Before each Rabi/Kharif crop season, the central government announces Minimum Support Prices (MSP), based on recommendations of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
  • Foodgrain Stocking Norms (Buffer Norms) were laid down to ensure monthly releases of foodgrains for the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), Other Welfare Schemes (OWS), to meet emergency situations arising out of unexpected crop failure.

National Food Security

National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA)

  • Government of India enacted the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
  • The Act provides for coverage of upto 75 per cent of the rural population and upto 50 per cent of the urban population for receiving subsidized foodgrains under a Targeted Public Distribution System, thus covering about two-thirds of the population.
  • This coverage for receiving highly subsidized foodgrains is under 2 categories—households covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and the remaining households as priority households.
  • AAY was launched in 2000 to provide focus on food security to the poorest of the poor. Such households are entitled under the Act to receive 35 kg of foodgrains per households per month, at ₹ 1/2/3 per kg. for coarse grains/wheat/rice.
  • Priority households are entitled to receive 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month at the above-mentioned highly subsidized prices.

End-to-End Computerisation

  • Department of Food and Public Distribution is implementing a Plan Scheme on ‘End-to-End Computerisation’ of TPDS Operations on cost sharing basis with states/UTs.
  • It involves digitization of beneficiary database to enable correct identification of beneficiaries; removal of bogus cards and better targeting of food subsidies and online allocation of foodgrains to bring transparency.

Integrated Management of PDS (IM-PDS)

  • A new central sector scheme– ‘Integrated Management of PDS’ (IM- PDS) is to be implemented during FY 2018-19 and 2019-20 for establishing Public Distribution System Network (PDSN) to inter alia implement national level de-duplication of beneficiaries and portability.
  • The Scheme will strengthen better targeting of food subsidy and help the beneficiaries to lift foodgrains from the FPSs of their choice.

Other Welfare Schemes

  • The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is implemented by the Ministry of HRD. Foodgrains are supplied free of cost at 100 grams for primary stage and at 150 grams for upper primary stage per child per school day when cooked/processed hot meal is being served or 3 kgs per student per month when raw foodgrains are distributed.
  • Wheat Based Nutrition Programme is implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The foodgrains allotted under it are utilized by the states/UTs under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.
  • SABLA scheme was launched in 2010 to empower adolescent girls of 11-18 years by improvement of their nutritional and health status and upgrading various skills useful to them.
  • Annapurna Scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development. Indigent senior citizens of 65 years of age or above who are not getting pension under the National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS), are provided 10 kgs of foodgrains per person per month free of cost under it.
  • The FCI sells excess stocks of wheat and rice from the Central Pool at predetermined prices in the open market from time to time under Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) to enhance the supply especially during the lean season especially in the deficit regions.

Storage of Foodgrains

  • To cope with increasing production and procurement of foodgrains, the Department is implementing Private Entrepreneurs Guarantee (PEG) Scheme, launched in 2008, for augmenting the covered storage capacity in the country.
  • Government introduced a Negotiable Warehouse Receipt System in the country by enacting the Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act, 2007.
    • The government constituted the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) in 2010 for implementation of the provisions of the Act.
    • The Negotiable Warehouse Receipts (NWRs) issued against stocks of farm produces deposited by the farmers in warehouses would help the farmers in seeking loan from banks.
  • Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) is a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) set up in 1957 under this Department to provide scientific storage facilities for agricultural produces, implements and other notified commodities.
  • CWC also has a 100 per cent owned subsidiary company namely, Central Railside Warehouse Company Limited (CRWC) for development of Railside Warehouse Complexes (RWCs).

Post Harvest Management of Foodgrains

  • Indian Grain Storage Management and Research Institute (IGMRI), Hapur is engaged in the training and applied Research and Development (R&D) work relating to grain storage management.
  • The Central Grain Analysis Laboratory (CGAL) located in New Delhi assists the Department in monitoring the quality of foodgrains.

Sugar

  • Sugar is an essential commodity. Its sales, delivery from mills, and distribution were regulated under EC Act, 1955.
  • Till 1997, the exports of sugar were being carried out under the provisions of the Sugar Export Promotion Act, 1958, through the notified export agencies, viz., Indian Sugar and General Industry Export Import Corporation Ltd. (ISGIEIC) and State Trading Corporation of India Ltd. (STC).
  • The Sugar Development Fund Act, 1982 can be utilized by the Government of India for making loans for facilitating the rehabilitation and modernization, development of sugarcane, bagasse based co-generation power projects etc.

Ethanol Blending Petrol Programme

  • Ethanol is an agro-based product, mainly produced from a by-product of the sugar industry, namely molasses.
  • The Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP) seeks to achieve blending of Ethanol with motor sprit with a view to reducing pollution and increase value addition in the sugar industry.
  • Government has also notified new National Policy on Bio-Fuels, 2018 under which sugarcane juice has been allowed for production of ethanol.

International Cooperation

  • In 2007, the Heads of States of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries signed the agreement to establish the SAARC Food Bank to provide food security to the people of the region.
  • Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) is one of the largest specialized agencies in the UN System founded in 1945.
  • The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) serves as a forum in the United Nations System for review and follow-up of policies concerning world food security. India is a member of both FAO and CFS.
  • India is a member of the International Grains Council (IGC), an intergovernmental forum based in London for cooperation in wheat and coarse grain matters. It administers the Grains Trade Convention, 1995.

Food Processing Industries

  • Food processing industry constitutes 12.77 per cent of employment generated in all registered factory sector in 2014-15.
  • Cent per cent FDI is permitted under the automatic route in food processing industries- manufacturing sector. A dedicated investors’ portal called ‘Nivesh Bandhu’ was launched in 2017 to assist potential investors in the food processing sector
  • Food processing sector has been identified as one of the priority sector under ‘Make in India’.
  • Mega Food Parks Scheme, being implemented since 2008, aims to create a modern food processing infrastructure for the processing units based on a cluster approach and on a hub and spoke model in a demand driven manner.
  • MOFPI launched a new central sector scheme “Operation Greens—A scheme for integrated development of Tomato, Onion and Potato”.
  • The Ministry launched a Centrally Sponsored Scheme—National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP) during 12th Plan in 2012.
  • The Ministry established the National Institute of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management at Kundli, in Haryana in 2012. NIFTEM has been declared a Deemed University under de novo category.
  • The Ministry upgraded Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT), Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu to a national level institute in 2008.
  • Following schemes are implemented under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) which was launched in 2017: (i) mega food parks (ii) integrated cold chain and value addition infrastructure (iii) infrastructure for agro-processing clusters (iv) creation of backward and forward linkages etc.

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