The recent National Food Security Bill 2013 which was passed by way of an Ordinance in the parliament is no small feat undertaken by the Government of India. This bill promises subsidized food grains to nearly 68% of India’s 1.2 Billion population at a cost of nearly USD 4 Billion!
The bill aims to provide quality food grains and nutritional security, to under privileged children, women and poorer sections of the society, at affordable prices. Indeed a very noble and ambitious plan.
While the bill may face regulatory challenges, the real challenges that will affect the effectiveness of the initiative lie elsewhere. A lot of infrastructure, storage and distribution issues will have to be addressed on a war footing by the government. Some of the specific logistics problems the government will have to deal with are:
- Procurement of food grains
- Fair price purchase from farmers
- Quality Assurance
- Distribution Network
- Pilferage and Leakages
- Accurate forecasting of Demand and Supply
- Managing the Supply Chain
The Government will also have to deal with another set of problems such as Minimum Support Price (MSP) of food grains, poverty categorization of citizens, alterations to be brought in the existing Public Distribution System (PDS), irregularities, corruption, grievances redress, and vigilance committees. However, in this article we shall specifically look into logistic issues highlighted above and throw some light on what the government should do to address these on priority. (more…)