Government on Thursday formed a group of food secretaries from states which will brainstorm on the framework of the community kitchen scheme.
Food Secretaries from eight states namely Kerala, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh form the group while Madhya Pradesh’s food secretary will head it.
Minister for consumer affairs, food & public distribution Piyush Goyal announced the formation of the group while chairing the meeting of states’ food ministers to work out the modalities of formulating the community kitchen scheme as well as a national food grid.
Mr Goyal said that the scheme will have to be simple, transparent and beneficial for people.
“We should have empathy towards poor of the country and should ensure collective resolve to run successful and transparent food programmes to ensure proper nutrition to children,” he said during the meeting.
Food ministers of states who attended the meeting included Bihar, Gujarat, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and union territory Puducherry among others.
The next meeting at the officers’ level will be held virtually on November 29 to deliberate on the framework proposal, official sources said.
Mr Goyal said in the meeting that during the pandemic, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) proved useful for more than 80 crore beneficiaries, as through it, free food grains were provided them and there was no food shortage in the country.
On Wednesday, the union cabinet had cleared the extension of the scheme till March 2022.
Referring to the meeting, the minister said that it was held as per the directions of the Supreme Court.
Other issues which were discussed in the meeting included the review of the status of the implementation of “One Nation One Ration Card” (ONORC) scheme and Aadhaar seeding of ration cards.
Hearing a writ petition filed jointly by activists Anun Dhawan, Ishann Dhawan and Kunjana Singh that prayed for setting up community kitchens and establishment of a national food grid, the Supreme Court had asked the government on November 16 to hold a meeting and frame the policy in three weeks’ time.