Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution is a ministry with two
departments - the Department of Food and Public Distribution and the Department of Consumer
Affairs. Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) one of the two departments under the Ministry
was constituted as a separate Department in June 1997 as it was considered necessary to have a
separate department to give a fillip to the nascent consumer movement in the country
The Department has been entrusted with the following work: internal trade; the Essential
Commodities Act, 1955, etc.; Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supply of
Essential Commodities Act, 1980; regulation of packaged commodities; training in legal
metrology; consumer cooperatives, etc., to name a few.
The Department of Food and Public Distribution, in the Ministry is responsible for
management of the food economy of the nation. It undertakes various activities, such as
procurement of food items, their storage, movement and delivery to the distributing agencies.
The primary policy objective of the Department is to ensure food security for the country
through timely and efficient procurement and distribution of foodgrains. This involves
procurement of various foodgrains, building up and maintenance of food stocks, their storage,
movement and delivery to the distributing agencies and monitoring of production, stock and
price levels of foodgrains.
The focus is on incentivizing farmers through fair value of their produce by way of
Minimum Support Price mechanism, distribution of Food grains to Below Poverty Line (BPL)
families and covering poor households at the risk of hunger under Antyodaya Anna Yojana
(AAY), establishing grain banks in food scarce areas and involvement of Panchayati Raj
Institutions (PRI) in Public Distribution System (PDS).
Relevant Websites: www.consumeraffairs.nic.in www.dfpd.nic.in
The mandate of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is consumer advocacy. India
was a pioneer in consumer advocacy with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), a path breaking
legislation at the time, enacted in 1986 and the establishment of a separate government
department dedicated to consumer affairs as early as in 1997. Translating this mandate into
action entails: enabling consumers to make informed choices; ensuring fair, equitable and
consistent outcomes for consumers; and facilitating timely and effective consumer grievance
The Department has been conducting a countrywide multimedia awareness campaign since
2005 on various issues related to consumer rights and responsibilities across diverse subjects.
“Jago Grahak Jago” has today become a household axiom. More recently, joint publicity
campaigns have been launched in partnership with the related government departments/
organizations that deal with a mass consumer clientele. For instance, on food, with the Food