Source: News Bharati English04 Nov 2016 09:20:37

New Delhi, November 4: The National Food Security Act (NFSA) has been implemented in all the States and Union Territories post Kerala and Tamil Nadu rolled out the act. Being an important initiative for ensuring food security of the people, the Government has actively pursued with all the States/UTs for its early implementation.
The declaration was made by Union Minister of Consumer Affair, Ram Vilas Paswan. As a result of which now 81.34 crore persons will get wheat at Rs. 2/ kg and rice at Rs. 3/ kg. Paswan said now the Center will focus on further reforms in PDS, which will include end to end computerization of the system for which States/UTs are being technically and financially assisted. He said this is important for bringing in transparency in the functioning of the public distribution system, which is vital feature of NFSA, in order to check leakages and diversion of food grains.

Paswan while highlighting other initiatives taken by the Centre to make the PDS leakage proof, said that the beneficiary’s data base has been digitized in all the 36 States/UTs, wherein, information is available right up to beneficiary level and is in the public domain. Online allocation of food grains in being done in 28 States/UTs, and the entire food grain supply chain has been computerized in 18 States/UTs. 100 percent linkage of Ration Cards with Aadhar, which is 71% at the moment, will be achieved. Food grains losses of FCI have been brought down to 0.04 percent and major FCI depots have been made online.

In another significant step towards better targeting and leakage-free distribution of food grains, direct benefit transfer is being carried out in two different modes. In the first mode, food subsidy is being transferred in cash into the bank account of beneficiaries, who then have the choice to buy food grains from the open market. This has been started in UTs of Chandigarh, Puducherry and urban areas of Dadra & Nagar Haveli. The second mode involves automation of fair price shops, for distribution of food grains through an electronic point of sale device which authenticates beneficiaries at the time of distribution and also electronically captures the quantum of food grains distributed to the family. As of 31.10.2016, e-PoS devices are operational in 1, 61,854 fair price shops.

For smooth functioning of PDS, State Governments are also being provided Central assistance for meeting expenditure of intra-State transportation & handling of food grains and fair price shop dealer’s margin. The assistance for fair price shops dealers’ margin also contains a component of assistance for installation and operation of Pos devices at fair price shops. So far, Rs. 1874 crore has been released to State Governments by the Government of India in 2016-17.

At this current coverage, monthly allocation of food grains to States/UTs under the Act is about 45.5 lakh tons, with subsidy implication of about Rs. 11,726 core per month or about Rs. 1, 40,700 crore per year.

Regarding Sugarcane arrears, Paswan said 2014-15 arrears which were Rs.21, 000 at the peak have now come down Rs 205 crore. Prices of pulses except Chana have come down. Regarding wheat prices he said that Government has decided to release additional 10 lakh ton wheat for sale in domestic Market under FCI OMS scheme.
























The remarks — issued aboard the papal plane as the Pope flew back to Rome from Sweden — came in response to a journalist asking whether the church might see female priests in the coming decade, the New York Times reports.

In Sweden, Francis had been attending a ceremony to commemorate the year leading up to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Like many other Protestant denominations, the Church of Sweden has ordained woman for decades — its head, Archbishop Antje Jackelen, is a woman.

Although the Pope has repeatedly denied women would be permitted in the clergy, his creation of a commission to discuss whether women could serve as deacons in May caused some to question his intentions. Francis has endured flak from Catholic traditionalists.

But a Pew Research Center poll in 2015 found that about 6% of American Catholics were in favor of allowing women to be priests.