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FCI to be strengthened, modernised in next 12 months; MSP system to continue: Piyush Goyal

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New Delhi: Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said state-owned FCI will be strengthened and modernised in the next 12 months and stressed that the MSP procurement system will continue. The Food Corporation of India (FCI), government’s nodal agency for procurement and distribution of foodgrains, should become more efficient, transparent and accountable, as well as use modern technologies and data analytics to improve its functioning, he said.

Addressing the 57th Foundation Day of FCI, Goyal said the organisation will be strengthened and modernised with usage of technology in the next 12 months so that it can continue to serve farmers and consumers.

He assured that the procurement system at minimum support system (MSP) will continue and FCI is committed to serve farmers.

Goyal, along with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Minister of State for Commerce Som Parkash, is holding discussions with around 40 farmer unions on farm laws.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at the borders of Delhi for over a month seeking repeal of three farm laws and legal guarantee for the MSP system.

The next round of meeting is scheduled on Friday.

“We are committed and we commit ourselves as an organisation on our 57th Foundation Day to become more efficient, transparent and accountable to the farmers, people of India and our customers. Farmers are our customers and people of India are our customers,” said Goyal, who is also the Railways and Commerce Minister.

He asked FCI employees and all other stakeholders to take a pledge to further strengthen and expand the organisation as well as to make its operations transparent and efficient.

The minister asked FCI to strengthen the procurement system at MSP and ensure that the MSP programme continues with an objective to serve farmers.

Goyal also told FCI to adopt digital technologies, internet of things and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve its functioning.

A simple and efficient system will also help reduce the operational expenditure of FCI, he said, adding that discretionary powers should be cut down.

Stating that FCI is committed to serve the nation, the minister said the organisation acts as a bridge between farmers and consumers to ensure that no countryman is deprived of food grains.

Goyal complimented the FCI for carrying out the task of distributing foodgrains across the country under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana during the COVID-19 pandemic and the nationwide lockdown period.

The distribution of foodgrains helped the poor and also checked price rise in food items, he said, adding that more procurement centres were opened by FCI to procure rabi crops.

Quoting a third party audit conducted by the Centre, the minister said a satisfaction level of around 94 per cent was found among 80 crore beneficiaries under the food law.

Goyal hoped that FCI would grow rapidly in coming years and will continue to serve both farmers and consumers across the country.

The minister said that FCI employees should work in a mission mode and not take their job as a regular 9 am to 5 pm job. He informed that there are about 7,000 employees in FCI and around 2-2.5 lakh people in the entire FCI ecosystem.

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