By BS Reporter
National Co-operative Consumersâ€™ Federation of India Ltd (NCCF), set up in 1965 by the Union government, plans to restructure agri-commodity retail chains with Rs 650 crore of government money.
Under the plan, NCCF will set up channelised grain processing, packaging, warehousing and distribution units in five mandis to begin with, to mill paddy, wheat and pulses for supply to its own retail shops. The two proposed pulsesâ€™ processing units are set to come up each in Nagpur and Akola. Paddy milling units are expected to be established in Raipur, in West Bengal and in Andhra Pradesh. The purpose is to supply foodgrains in remote Indian village consumers at an affordable price. Later, the milling facility is set to be expanded to cover all districts.
NCCF currently runs 22,000 multi commodity retail shops in various states, of which nearly 17,000 are operational. The remaining 5,000 are, however, defunct. With the current investment plan, the Federation will modernise the operational shops and bring defunct ones on to stream by the next financial year.
"The working group set up by minister Sharad Pawar gave its report last week. The report was, by and large, accepted by the minister. Now, it will be submitted to Parliament which has to pass the allocations," said Virendra Singh, chairman of NCCF.
The major recommendation by the working group was to revive NCCF through pumping in more government money.
When asked about the possible duplication with the existing Public Distribution System, Singh said, "The operational system of PDS is different from co-operativesâ€™ retail shops."
NCCF, said Singh, has also been allowed to procure foodgrains on behalf of the government. The government has also allowed it to import foodgrains, for supply through the PDS.
"We have already imported 30,000 tonnes of pulses and delivered it successfully to the Rajasthan government. Similarly, we supplied 12,000 tonnes of pulses to the Tamil Nadu government," Singh said.
The Federation seeks only a 1.2 per cent service charge over and above the general discount or subsidy.