Taking forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi's idea of restructuring the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the government on Wednesday announced setting up a high-level committee (HLC) to suggest ways to restructure the grain procurement agency.
The panel will be headed by Member of Parliament Shanta Kumar. Its other members will be Ashok Gulati, former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; G. Raghuram, Dean, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad; Gunmadi Nancharaiah, Dean, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad; chief secretaries of Punjab and Chhattisgarh; and FCI chairman and managing director. The panel will submit its report to the government within three months.
"It is commonly perceived that FCI is plagued today with several functional and cost inefficiencies, which need to be removed for efficient management of foodgrains and saving costs. Therefore, it has been decided to set up a HLC of distinguished panel of experienced persons and experts to recommend on restructuring of FCI after considering various aspects of present structure and functional areas of the organization and consulting various stakeholders," said a food ministry statement.
Set up in 1965, FCI is vested with vital responsibilities of management, procurement of grains and its distribution to state government agencies for various food security programmes. FCI procures and handles nearly 60 million tonnes of wheat and rice in a year.
The panel will suggest measures for overall improvement in management of food grains by FCI. It will study various models of restructuring or unbundling of FCI and suggest a best suited model to improve its operational efficiency and financial management.
It will also suggest a way for strengthening and integration of supply chain of foodgrains and also recommend cost-effective storage models for grains.
While taking charge of the ministry of food, public distribution and consumer affairs in May, Ram Vilas Paswan had said that streamlining the working of FCI and making the public distribution system more effective will be his priority.