New Delhi, May 31
The government today approved a scheme worth Rs 1 lakh crore to increase foodgrain storage capacity in the country by 700 lakh tonnes in the cooperative sector to take it to 2,150 lakh tonnes to reduce damage and prevent distress sale by farmers, besides strengthening the country’s food security.
Of the existing capacity of 1,450 lakh tonnes, the maximum 60 per cent is in Punjab and the lowest 21 per cent is in West Bengal, said Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur while briefing the media on Cabinet decisions. He said the country’s foodgrain production was around 3,100 lakh tonnes, while the storage capacity was only 47 per cent of the output.
Under the scheme, Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) would be given financial support to build godowns in the range of 500-2,000 tonnes each, “as the decision has been taken in favour of the world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector,” the minister said, adding a godown of 2,000-tonne capacity would be established in each block.
On the source of funding, Thakur said the funds available with the ministries of agriculture, food processing and food and consumer affairs would be utilised. The scheme would benefit in creating decentralised storage capacity at the local level in the country, which would reduce grain wastage and strengthen the food security of the country, he said, adding this would hugely reduce the cost incurred in the transportation of foodgrain to procurement centres and again transporting the stock back from warehouses to ration shops.
Later in an official release, the government said the Cabinet had also approved the constitution of an empowerment inter-ministerial committee for convergence of various schemes of the ministries of agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution and food processing industries.
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