Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feb 13, 2007: The New Indian Express

Government to procure dal from self-help groups
Tuesday February 13 2007 10:32 IST

BHUBANESWAR: Encouraged by the involvement of woman self-help groups (WSHGs) in dal processing and supply of dal to government for the mid-day meal scheme in five districts, including four in KBK region, instruction has been issued to all the collectors to follow suit.

Since the first three months of every year is the major procurement season of ‘kandula’ (raw arhar dal), the district collectors have been asked to place orders for dal supply with woman SHGs by doing away with the existing tendering system. Short supply of dal by SHGs of the actual requirement in respective districts, if any, should be met from open market through tender procedure, the government order said.

SHGs do not have the financial strength to compete with traders in dal supply contract bid, neither they possess VAT or sales tax numbers nor they filed income tax returns as required in the tendering process. Besides, they do not have required amount of deposits in bank to provide guarantee, official sources said.

While the State’s requirement of dal under MDM and special nutrition programme (SNP) will be to the tune of three lakh quintals, SHGs of five districts - Koraput, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Gajapati - have been able to supply about 6,000 quintals in a year. However, 2005 was an exception when the SHGs of the five districts had supplied over 10,000 quintals of dal.

The SHGs have the capacity to meet half of the total requirement of dal under the two programmes. The low procurement is attributed to lack of funds and support from district administration.

Apart from placing orders with the SHGs in time, the district collectors have been asked to facilitate bank credit for the swarazgaris for timely procurement of ‘kandula’ and processing to dal. The district collectors have been advised to make SGSY funds available with the SHGs in case of delay in availing of bank credit. The Orissa Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) has planned to extend financial assistance of Rs 1.5 crore to the SHGs for dal processing and supply of the processed dal under MDM and SNP.

The Government has fixed the procurement price of arhar dal at Rs 26.75 a kg this year. While the raw dal is available at Rs 15 a kg, the SHGs can earn a profit of Rs 3.50 to 4 per kg of processed dal. Not only the SHG members will have a better earning, but primary growers will also be benefited immensely because of assured remunerative price for their produce, the sources said adding, supply of quality dal is also guaranteed.

No comments: