The first meeting of a high-level committee, set up to recommend ways to restructure state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI), will be held next week.
“The meeting of the committee has been scheduled on September 8. It will discuss the overhauling of the FCI, which is plagued by functional and cost inefficiencies,” food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said.
The eight-member panel, headed by member of Parliament from Himachal Pradesh Shanta Kumar, will recommend various models to restructure FCI and submit the report in three months.
The FCI, set up under the Food Corporation Act, 1964, is a nodal agency for procurement, storage and distribution of foodgrain to the PDS and other welfare schemes. Restructuring of the FCI is a campaign promise of the government.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, in his Budget 2014-15 speech had said: “The government is committed to reforms in the food sector. Restructuring the FCI, reducing transportation and distribution losses and efficacy of the PDS would be taken up on priority.”
The terms of reference of the panel are to study various models of restructuring or unbundling of the FCI and suggest the best-suited model to improve its operational efficiency and financial management.
The panel will give suggestions to reorient the role and functions of the FCI in the minimum support price (MSP) operations, storage and distribution of foodgrain and food security systems of the country.
It will also recommend cost-effective scientific models of storage, rationalised foodgrain movement, technology upgradation in foodgrain management and a way forward for the integration of supply chain of foodgrain.
Members of the committee include FCI chairman-cum-managing director
C Viswanath, former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) Ashok Gulati and electronic and IT secretary Ram Sewak Sharma.
The chief secretaries of Punjab and Chhattisgarh, besides academicians
G Raghuram and Gunmadi Nancharaiah from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad University, respectively, are also part of the committee.