Targetted Public Distribution System (TPDS)
Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department is concerned with Section 3 of the NFSA 2013 which mandates that every person belonging to priority households shall be entitled to receive five Kilograms of foodgrains per person per month at subsidised prices specified in Schedule I from the State Government under the Targetted Public Distribution System.
Provided that the households covered under Antyodaya Anna Yojana shall, to such extent as may be specified by the Central Government for each State in the said scheme, be entitled to thirty five Kilograms of foodgrains per household per month at price specified in Schedule I.
The list of priority households identified under NFSA is taken from the Socio Economic & Caste Census (SECC) 2013 database by applying Exclusion Parameters. The population coverage is 50.87% Urban and 77.79% Rural. The Exclusion Parameters are different for rural and urban areas. For Urban areas, Exclusion Parameters are taken from the Report of the Hashim Committee submitted to the Planning Commission in December 2012. For Rural areas, the Exclusion Parameters are taken from the Socio Economic & Caste Census Booklet for identifying the Below Poverty Line in rural areas issued by the Ministry of Rural Development in July 2013.
The total number of priority households covered under NFSA 2013 is 4,22,040. The population covered is 21,49,095 of which 18,45,631 are in rural areas 3,03,464 are in urban areas. The number of households identified under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) is 32,419. The provisional list of priority households was notified and claims and objections were called for. The list was confirmed by the local village durbar. The final list of eligible households is displayed in the public domain. The Ration Card data is maintained in digitised database and updated regularly. However, there is no mechanism for receiving applications for ration cards online. There is no time limit prescribed for issue of ration cards.
The allocation of rice for priority households and AAY families is 10,800.27 MTS per month. The scale of issue is 5kg per person per month at the rate of Rs. 3 per Kg. For AAY families the scale is 35 Kgs per family. Foodgrains are transported to the doorstep of the Fair Price Shops (FPS) and a copy of the allocation Order is sent to the Local authority/Vigilance Committee. Quality samples are maintained by the FCI and the Wholesaler. The subsidy for intra- state transport, handling and profit margin is Rs. 243 per quintal. This amount is shared between the Centre and State in the ratio of 75:25. The amount of Rs.243 per quintal is to be shared between the Wholesaler and FPS Dealer as decided by the respective Deputy Commissioner of the District.
There are 280 Wholesalers in the State who are responsible for lifting foodgrains from the FCI Godowns. Foodgrains are transported to their own godowns, from where these are distributed to the FPS Dealers.
There are 4474 FPS in the State. Against this number, there are 66 Inspecting staff available in the Department. It would be difficult to ensure that the full quantity and same quality of foodgrains lifted by the wholesalers reach the godowns of the FPS. The Department informed that regular inspections are carried out and Utilization Certificates are submitted by the Vigilance Committees.
The duties and responsibilities of the FPS Dealers are laid down including display of information regarding (a) entitlement of foodgrains (b) scale of issue (c) retail issue prices (d) timings of opening and closing of the Fair Price Shops (e) stock of foodgrains received during the month (f) Opening and closing stock of foodgrains (g) mechanism including authority for redressal of grievances with respect to quality and quantity of foodgrains under the TPDS.
The Department has put in place a mechanism for production of documents by the Fair Price Shop Dealer to any ration card holder. On a written request from the petitioner alongwith requisite fees, the FPS Dealer is to provide information requested within fourteen days. In case of violation of any condition of the licence or irregularity committed by the FPS, enquiries are conducted by officials of the D.C/ SDO office. If necessary, suspension or cancellation of license is resorted to. In such cases, the DC/SDO makes alternative arrangement for distribution of foodgrains.
The Department informed that Vigilance Committees have been set up for TPDS at the State, District, Block and FPS level, and that meetings of the Vigilance Committees are held regularly. A Report on the functioning of the Vigilance Committees is also sent to Govt of India. A grievance redressal mechanism is in place including a toll free number ( 1967 or 1800 – 345 – 3644 ), and State Web portal ( megfcsca.gov.in) Grievances may also be lodged Online.The Department has issued a Citizens Charter which is available in its website. The function of the Vigilance Committee is to
- Regularly supervise the implementation of all schemes under the Act
- Inform Grievance Redressal Officer, in writing, of any violation of the provision of the Act
- Inform Grievance Redressal Officer, in writing, of any malpractice or misappropriation of funds found by it
- Hold meetings on quarterly basis.
The State Level Vigilance Committee is chaired by the Minister in charge, Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, and includes Minister in charge Community and Rural Development, Urban Affairs, Members of Parliament, Food Corporation of India, Representatives of Chambers of Commerce, Representatives from local authorities and President of Women Organisation/Youth Organisation. The District Level Vigilance Committees are Chaired by the Deputy Commissioners, and the Block Level Vigilance Committees are headed by the Sub Divisional Officer (C). At the Fair Price Shop Level, the Vigilance Committees are headed by the Local Headman/Nokma and consists of representatives of Women Organisations, Youth organisations, Self Help Groups, and six members of Card Holders families.
Under Section 15 of the NFSA 2013, the Addl. Deputy Commissioners/EAC's of the Districts have been notified as the District Grievance Redressal Officers (DGRO). Wide publicity has been given on the details of DGRO such as name, telephone number, office address and the grievance redressal mechanism. Steps have been taken to educate the ration card holders regarding their rights and privileges through advertisements in the newspapers, electronic media and also consumer awareness Programmes at the District and Sub Divisional level. However, all TPDS records are not placed in the public domain and open for inspection to the public. Periodic social audit on the functioning of the TPDS is also not carried out. The Department was advised to conduct social audit alongwith the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
Apart from the GRO, the Government may also appoint Assistant Grievance Redressal Officers (AGRO) at each District and Subdivision, who will not be below the rank of Inspector of Supply. The role and responsibility of the AGRO are –
- Accept and address complaints/queries from public, Call Centre in writing, in person, via email, phone, fax, post etc.
- Monitor and redress complaints lodged and address it as per timelines
- Submit a quarterly report to the GRO and Directorate of FCS informing the complaints received during the period, nature of complaints, number of complaints redressed, number of complaints pending and suggestions
- Comply and conduct the duties as per the provisions of the Act.
If there is a change in the AGRO, the DC/SDO shall immediately write to the Director of Food and Civil Supplies the replacement with full name, designation, and contact details like mobile number, email etc.