New Delhi : Two directorates in the Food Ministry that deserved to be wound up after becoming redundant have been instead merged into one with a staff of 75 that will continue to draw salaries burdening the taxpayer without having any substantial work.

The merger was announced by the ministry in an official order, touting the decision to be in line with the Prime Minister”s policy of “minimum government, maximum governance.”

“It has been decided that Directorate of Sugar and Directorate of Vanaspati, Vegetable Oils and Fats, two attached offices under the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DOFPD) are merged into single entity with the approval of the competent authority,” the order said.

It said the new directorate will be known as “Directorate of Sugar and Vegetable oils.” It will continue to function as repository of the sectoral information and implementation arm of the department”s policy. It will work towards maintaining the data related to sugar and edible oil sector in digital form and help in the policy formation.

The big question is whether the government needs the new directorate at all that is a drain of Rs 30 crore on the exchequer. Before the economic liberation, the two directorates had a lot of work because of controls and curbs.

The sugar directorate was left with no work since after sugar was decontrolled, while the oil directorate has become obsolete since after import and export of edible oils was brought under the Open General License (OGL) in 1992. The work of maintaining data could have been easily done by the department of statistics instead of maintaining the 75-strong staff.

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