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Rajasthan govt partners with Future Group to manage PDS shops

HT Business:  August, 2015

Jaipur: Five thousand fair price shops in Rajasthan will soon undergo a facelift and be rebranded as Annapurna Bhandars as the Rajasthan Food and Civil Supplies Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Kishore Biyani-led Future Consumer Enterprise Ltd. at the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in Jaipur on Thursday.

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who was present during the signing-in, later tweeted “Enthused about this innovative concept – every citizen should have access to quality commodities – a sense of self-respect and dignity!”

In this first of its kind initiative, the government will run Annapurna Bhandar Yojna as a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Future Group to sell multi-brand consumer goods through the ration shops. The move has been touted as a “pioneering initiative in Public Distribution System to provide quality products in the remotest areas at the cheapest prices”.

Raje is so excited about the initiative – so much so, that on a day when the BJP got a massive mandate in the municipal elections, she has tweeted more about the ‘Annapurna Bhandar Yojna’ than about the results.

Principal Secretary (food and civil supplies) Subodh Agarwal said this unique model of PPP will not benefit the public distribution system but also modern retail. The scheme will benefit people in cities, towns and villages.

He added that in the first phase, the scheme will be implemented through 5,000 ration shops. As a pilot, multi-brand consumer items are being provided at five shops in Jaipur and one in Udaipur.

Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani said he felt pride in getting associated with the Rajasthan government for this scheme. We want to extend the benefits of modern retail to the people of the state through PDS shops, he added. The Future Group will train fair price shop-owners in modern techniques of retail business and management.

These fair price shops will now get branded consumer products from the Future Group's portfolio, over and above the grains, vegetables, sugar, and so on, already available at the PDS outlets.