The government on Thursday formed a group of state food secretaries to consider the framework for the community kitchen program.
The food secretaries of eight states, namely Kerala, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, form the group while the secretary of Madhya Pradesh’s food will lead it.
Consumer, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal announced the formation of the group as he chaired the meeting of state food ministers to develop modalities for formulating the cooking program community as well as a national food grid.
Mr. Goyal said the program should be simple, transparent and beneficial to people.
“We need to empathize with the poor in the country and ensure a collective determination to run successful and transparent food programs to ensure good nutrition for children,” he said at the meeting.
Food ministers from states who attended the meeting included Bihar, Gujarat, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Union Puducherry Territory , among others.
The next officer-level meeting will be held virtually on November 29 to deliberate on the proposed framework, official sources said.
Mr Goyal told the meeting that during the pandemic, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) proved useful for more than 80 crore of beneficiaries, because thanks to her, free food grains were provided to them and there has been no food shortage in the country.
On Wednesday, the union’s cabinet authorized the extension of the regime until March 2022.
Referring to the meeting, the minister said it was held in accordance with directives from the Supreme Court.
Other issues that were discussed at the meeting included reviewing the status of implementation of the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) program and the Aadhaar seeding of ration cards.
Hearing a written petition filed jointly by activists Anun Dhawan, Ishann Dhawan and Kunjana Singh who prayed for the establishment of community kitchens and the establishment of a national food network, the Supreme Court had asked the government on November 16 to hold a meeting and set the policy within three weeks.