17 Oct :The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is operated under the joint responsibility of the Government of India and State/UT Governments. The Government of India carries out procurement of foodgrains for the TPDS, their storage, transportation and allocation to the State/UT Governments.
The responsibility for allocation of foodgrains within a State/UT, identification of eligible families and issuance of ration cards to them, and supervision of distribution of allocated foodgrains to eligible families through a vast network of 4.96 lakh fair price shops rest with the respective State/UT Governments. At present, 23.66 crore APL/BPL/AAY cards have been issued by the State/UT Governments.
Government has been continuously taking steps to strengthen the TPDS by improving its efficiency. Government got evaluated the TPDS by PEO (Planning Commission) and ORG MARG. Certain shortcomings were pointed out in their evaluation reports received in 2005. In view of these reports, to strengthen the TPDS and to curb leakages & diversion of foodgrains meant for TPDS, in consultation with State and UT Governments, the Government evolved a 9- point Action Plan in 2006. This includes measures such as review of BPL and AAY lists for exclusion of ineligible families and inclusion of eligible families, ensuring leakage free distribution by taking penal action against those found indulging in malpractices, involvement of Panchayati Raj Institutions in functioning of FPS, display of BPL and AAY lists at fair price shops, door step delivery of PDS commodities to fair price shops, etc. The Action Plan is under implementation in States and UTs since July 2006 and is being closely monitored by FPS level Vigilance Committees. As a result of this exercise, so far 14 States/UTs have reported deletion of 99.36 lakh bogus/ineligible cards since July, 2006.
The Government has taken various other measures to improve functioning of the TPDS. A Revised Citizens’ Charter has been issued and is being implemented since July, 2007. Monthly certification of delivery of allocated foodgrains to FPS and their distribution to ration card holders has been introduced from April, 2008. Training programmes for TPDS functionaries and awareness campaign for TPDS beneficiaries are being taken up. Computerization of TPDS operations has been initiated. Use of new technologies such as Global Positioning System to monitor movement of foodgrains under TPDS has been undertaken on a pilot basis. Policy guidelines have also been issued on distribution of wheat flour under the TPDS, so that the poor families are benefited. For increasing awareness on TPDS, publicity-cum-awareness campaign is also being taken up. The Government has given instructions to all State/UT Governments to take action as per law against persons found in possession of bogus or fake ration cards and the Government staff found responsible for issuing ration cards to ineligible persons.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Kantilal Bhuria in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.