Union Minister Piyush Goyal chairs the meeting of food ministers of states and union territories in New Delhi on November 25, 2021. (PIB)
New Delhi: The Centre has constituted a “Group of Food Secretaries” from States along with senior officers of the Central Government to deliberate on the framework of the Community Kitchens Scheme.
While announcing the Constitution of the Group, Union Food & Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal on November 25, 2021, affirmed that a simple, transparent Community Kitchens Scheme needs to be prepared.
The Group of Food Secretaries includes Food Secretaries from 8 states: Kerala, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. The Food Secretary of Madhya Pradesh will be heading the Group.
The next meeting at the officers’ level shall be held virtually on November 29, 2021, to deliberate on the framework proposal.
A writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court regarding establishing the concept of community kitchen across the country, formulation of a requisite scheme to provide food to the needy persons, and creating a national food grid for those persons beyond the scope of the Public Distribution System to fight with hunger.
The Supreme Court has directed the Union of India to come up with a Model Community Kitchens Scheme agreeable to the States/Union Territories within three weeks’ time.
Addressing the meeting of states’ and union territories’ food ministers, Goyal stated that the Model Community Kitchens will be of the community, run by the community & for the welfare of the community.
The Minister urged that it needs to be built on four pillars of Quality, Hygiene, Reliability & Spirit of Service.
It will help us realize the goal that no one sleeps hungry, he added.
Referring to the crucial agendas of today’s meeting, the Minister said that Model Community Kitchens Scheme, in the context of directions of the Supreme Court and One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) with regard to status of implementation across various states (enabled in 34 States/UTs), Aadhaar seeding of Ration Cards and Biometrically authenticated FPS transactions will be discussed.
Goyal also noted that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is probably the world’s largest food programme undertaken, during the COVID period.
“Even during the peak of COVID-19, we did not allow any food shortages to occur. It is the result of collective efforts that no case of death due to starvation has been reported during the pandemic.”
Expressing delight at the extension of PMGKAY till March 2022, Goyal said that the government will incur an expenditure of Rs.2.6 lakh crore in PMGKAY from Phase I-V.
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Secretary Department of Food and Public Distribution Sudhanshu Pandey participated in the meeting.
Food ministers who attended the event were Food Minister of Bihar Leshi Singh, Food Minister of Delhi Imran Hussain, Food Minister of Gujarat (MoS) Gajendra Singh Parmar, Food Minister of Himachal Pradesh Rajinder Garg, Food Minister of Kerala GR Anil, Food Minister of Punjab Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Food Minister of Tamil Nadu Thiru R. Sakkarapani, Food Minister of Uttar Pradesh Ranvendra Pratap Singh and Food Minister of Puducherry AK Sai J. Sarvanakumar.
Besides, Secretaries and other senior officers from various states were present at the meeting. (Press Release)