The Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department of Govt. of Assam was initially named as ‘ Supply Department’ and thereafter, renamed as ‘Food and Civil Supplies Department’ and again changed the name as ‘Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.
The British government made the ‘Assam Food Grains Control Order’ under the Defence of India Rules, 1935 for its implementation in the North Eastern States of the country with a view to maintain supply line of the commodities essential to the community. The effect of World War-II had devastated the economy of the country and therefore, necessity aroused for creation a separate Government department to deal in the matters related to food grains and other essential commodities in public interest.
As a result, the erstwhile ‘Supply Department’ was created by the then Government in the year 1943 as a ‘Temporary Department’. The work of this department was expanded in the year 1946 by way of opening 2(two) separate wings viz. ‘Procurement’ and ‘Rice Control’. The responsibilities of the then existing wings of ‘General Supply of Consumer Goods’, ‘Textile’ and ‘Enforcement’ of the department were though vested upon the District Administration by the ultimate control thereon, was remained with the Directorate of Supply Department.
In the year 1953, the ‘Supply Department’ made a record procurement of paddy in the State and Government had to face financial crisis due to huge monetary involvement in purchasing paddy from growers. The situation become so worsen which compelled the State Government to stop further procurement of paddy and brought back the responsibilities of the then existing wings of ‘General Supply of Consumer Goods’ , ‘Textile’ and ‘Enforcement’ wings from District Administration and merged the same with the ‘Procurement’ wing of the Directorate. Even, the notices of ‘Retrenchment from Service’ were served upon the employees and the accumulated stock of paddy and rice were transferred to Central Government to overcome the financial crises.
The State government ultimately succeeded to overcome all such adversity and on the 2nd day of October, 1956, declared the ‘Supply Department’ as ‘Permanent Department’ of Govt. of Assam.
In the year 1980, the ‘Supply Department’ was renamed as ‘Food and Civil Supplies Department’. In the year 2007, the nomenclature of the ‘Food and Civil Supplies Department’ was again renamed as ‘Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department’.
In the year 1957, the Central Government constituted ‘Food Grains Enquiry Committee (FGEC) headed by Dr. Ashok Mehta and the committee after a thorough analysis of food grain production, domestic requirement, distribution, pricing and incentive to growers and producers recommended setting up of exclusive bodies in 3(three) directions so that a more stable and scientific National Food Policy can be brought out. These directions included
1. Formation of a Price Stabilisation Board
2. Setting up of Food Grains Stabilisation Organization and
3. Constitution of Central Food Advisory Council
Government of India, with the help of the suggestions of FGEC set up ‘Food Corporation of India’ in January 1965 followed by setting up of ‘Agricultural price Commission of India’ in the same year and a ‘National Food Grain Policy Committee’ in the next year. These 3(three) bodies combined together gave a concrete shape to stable and lasting food policy in India. The functions of these 3(three) bodies as entrusted were –
- Food Corporation of India is to undertake the purchase, storage, movement and distribution of food grains at National Level besides handling of all kinds of import grains.
- Agriculture Price Commission of India is to fix the Procurement Prices of food grains by taking into account offering of incentive to growers and relief to consumer as well.
- National Food Grain Policy Committee likewise is to determine State wise distribution of food grains of reasonable prices by preparing ‘National Food Budget.’ This committee is also to evolve the policy of regulation of private trade and to determine the target of buffer stocks.
In the year 1973, the scheme of Public Distribution System (PDS) was introduced in Assam and thereafter in the decades of 80’s, the scheme of Revamped Public Distribution System(RPDS) was also experimented giving more emphasis on Tribal areas people. Then, as per recommendation of working group of Planning Commission of India, the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) was introduced.
Activities of Department
The responsibilities of the Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department are to maintain overall stability of general price level and to ensure adequate supply of commodities at right quantity in weight to the masses of the state. The FCS&CA Department is comprised of 2(two) Directorates to oversee the above main factors. These are:
- Directorate of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, and
- Controller of Legal Metrology.