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Budget 2017-18 will improve the living standard of common people, says Paswan

New Delhi: Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented an inclusive and historic budget under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Paswan said that budget 2018-19 is targeted for the empowerment of farmers, youth, women and all categories of society. The budget 2018-19 will improve the living standard of common people. Paswan stated it while briefing about the achievements of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution to the media in New Delhi.


Paswan told that foodgrains have been produced at the record level in the country. In 2017-18, 275 million tonnes of foodgrains and more than 300 million tonnes of fruit have been produced. The Central Government has made constant efforts for the welfare of the farmers, which have been continued in this budget and the increase in their income from the provision made in the budget for giving farmers a minimum support price of 1.5 times of the production cost of their crops.


Speaking on the budgetary provisions of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Paswan said that provision of Rs 224159.10 crores has been made for the Food Department this year, which is about 14% more than the Rs. 196809.22 crores in the year 2017-18. Similarly, for the Department of Consumer Affairs, a provision of 1804.52 crores has been made for this year out of which 1500 crores have been earmarked for stabilization fund.


Paswan gave a detailed discussion on the ongoing schemes in the department and informed about the main achievements and plans of the department. In particular, Paswan gave credit to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not making any increase in the prices of the food grains provided by the government in the last 3½ years and said that the central government is dedicated to the welfare of the poor.  Paswan said that the provisions made in the food department have been increased by 1.25 times in the last 3 years. The provision of total food subsidy for the year 2015-16 was Rs. 144781.69 crores, which is Rs. 173323 crores this year.


Referring to the benefits made to the Ministry due to the implementation of GST by the Government, Paswan said that due to this, only GST has remained at the place of taxation imposed by various states. Due to this, the tax on government procurement has decreased by 18%, saving the Government Rs.1600 crores. The Union Minister said that in order to consolidate the data of the public distribution system to the national level, the Ministry recently has given its approval for a new scheme of 127 crore rupees. In this scheme, State level PDS portal to be integrated with the National PDS Portal. This will enable the data of the entire country to be available at one place. Long-term loans are provided to the farmers in the government procurement by the Food Corporation of India, which is used to repay the amount. The government has also decided to restructure the capital finances of the Indian Food Corporation.


In public distribution system, transparency has been brought out and the cheaper grains reach the right beneficiary, the ration cards have been linked to the Aadhar and to ensure that PoS machines have been installed at ration shops. Paswan said that 2.75 crore fake, duplicate and illegal ration cards have been sacked from this campaign, so that the subsidy of Rs.17, 500 crores has been successful in reaching the right beneficiaries. Continuing this campaign, he said that now the aim of his ministry is to make the arrangements for the poor to give grains to their mindset ration shops. For this, Portability of PDS will be done in a phased manner in the country as a core banking, that is, within the same state, the beneficiary will be independent of any ration shop to take the grain as per his entitlement. This advertisement is already underway in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Gujarat and Delhi.


Paswan said that due to the online program of the Depot Online program, there has been an increase in work capacity and loss of stolen and grain losses on Depot Levels of the Indian Food Corporation. Through the procurement of farmers, through the purchase of government, the minimum support price for paddy and wheat has been benefited due to the direct payment to the farmers from online procurement and transparency has also been there. Work is being done for the Food Corporation of India and the State Food Corporation on the scheme of making 100 Lakh tonnes of steel silo for the modern storage of grain.


Speaking about the Department of Consumer Affairs, Paswan said that the biggest achievement of the government is that the prices of essential items have been controlled. He said that the Government had promised the people to control inflation, which has been done by this government in the last three years. The government has so far available buffer stock of pulses, which is now being distributed among various state government and central government programs. In order to keep its excess market prices stable, sales are also being done through open market tender.


Last year the Indian Standards Bureau Act, 2016 fully implemented last year. The Consumer Protection Bill has been presented in Parliament, and it will be passed shortly and it will be given legal form. For resolving consumer complaints, the number of National Consumer Helpline counter has been increased from 40 to 60. Apart from this, regional consumer helpline have also been set up in 6 cities. Consumers are getting relief from this and earlier, where 12 to 14 thousand complaints were received every month, now about 35 to 40 thousand complaints are getting per month.


It is being ensured that through the Legal Metrology, the people get the right amount and the right properties and services on the MRP.