The Public Distribution Shops (PDS) in Tamil Nadu are set to be modernised with the theme ‘Food security and nutrition security’. The state has around 35,000 fair-price shops with most of them run by cooperative societies and some of them by women self-help groups.
The state food and consumer protection department is planning to sell all branded groceries at a reasonable price through PDS shops. This is to attract more consumers and to sell the product in competition with private sellers.
The food department has already presented a detailed project to the state government and if approval is obtained then 10 to 15 shops in each district will be modernised every two months.
While speaking to IANS, J. Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary, Food and Consumer protection, said, “We are to change the perception that the fair price shops are a place to get free and low-cost food products. If the look and structure of the shops are changed, then this in itself will give a new outlook for the consumers on these shops.”
The new-look will include messages and paintings related to food and nutrient security on the shop premises. It is to be noted that the total number of beneficiaries now stands at 6.9 crore in the state and about 2.2 crore smart family cards were distributed through these fair-price shops.
The department will also conduct training for the staff in better maintenance of stores and customer service to attract new customers to the shop.
The food and consumer protection department will stop the distribution of loose Toor dal and will henceforth be supplied in packets according to food and safety department specifications.
The department is planning to raise funds for the modernisation of the PDS shops through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme as also through the support from MPs and MLAs.