Chandigarh, Feb 15 (PTI) To ensure smooth and timely procurement during the coming Rabi season, the Amarinder Singh cabinet today gave its nod to new food grains transportation as well as labour and cartage policies.

The approvals came at a meeting chaired by the chief minister here today, according to an official release.

The policies will apply to the various procurement agencies of the state food, civil supplies and consumer affairs department.

These include Pungrain, Markfed, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, Punsup, Punjab Agro Foodgrains Corporation, and also the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which procure food grains from various designated mandis.

To ensure hassle-free lifting during the Rabi 2018-19 procurement season, commencing from April 1, 2018, the cabinet has okayed the new policies for labour and cartage and transportation of wheat from mandis to the storage points.

Under the policies, for smooth transportation and timely lifting of grains, various Labour & Cartage (L&C) Societies will be given priority to carry out the operations of labour and cartage at the basic rates.

The remaining work of labour and cartage (up to 8 km) and transportation of wheat, beyond 8 km, will be allocated though a competitive and transparent online tender system.

Apart from the Punjab Food Grains Transportation Policy, 2018-19 and The Punjab Labour & Cartage Policy, 2018-19, the cabinet also approved draft notification regarding amendments to the Punjab Food Security Rules, 2016, to specify the provisions related to social audit.

The Centre had made the benefits available under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) a legal right by implementing the National Food Security Act-2013 (NFSA).

The Act was implemented in the Punjab in December 2013, under which the Punjab Government had notified Punjab Public Distribution System (Licensing and Control) Order, 2016 on April 22, 2016.

As per Section 40 (3) of National Food Security Act, 2013, the rules framed by the state government have to be placed before the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

But as per the orders of Supreme Court of India in a Writ Petition – Swaraj Abhiyan Vs Union of India and others, the Government of India directed all the states to amend the rules framed by the states and make a provision related to social audit, it said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.