A high level Central Team deputed by Union Minister for Consumer, Food & Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan visited Patna to review the PDS System as announced by the Minister after the death of Jago Manjhi reportedly due to starvation.
After the day long discussions with the senior officials of the State Government, the team lead by Joint Secretary Deepak Kumar in the Department of Food, Government of India found that there was delay in lifting of food grains by the states in some districts which was main reason for not getting ration allocations by the beneficiaries on time.
It was also observed by the team that the State has not uploaded the data of NFSA beneficiaries on the portal till now, which is one of the mandatory requirement for the allocation of highly subsidised food grains. It is depriving a number of beneficiaries from the allocation of wheat at the rate of Rs. 2 and rice at the rate of Rs. 3 per kg.
In view of the findings of the team the Center has urged the Bihar Government to ensure timely lifting of food grains from FCI godowns so that it can reach at Fair Price Shops in the beginning of the month. The States has also been asked to upload the data of all beneficiaries of National food Security Act on State PDS portal.
During the visit the Central was informed that problem of lifting of food grains is being faced only in districts of Patna, Araria, Bhojpur, Bhagalpur and Saharsa. On receiving complaints of irregularities in these districts, raids were conducted in godowns and licenses were suspended of some private transporters.
Now State Government has been arranging transport of food grains through State Civil Supplies Corporation. Because of non-availability of FCI godowns in some districts, food grains are being lifted from neighbouring districts which was creating delay in delivery. The Center asked the FCI and state government agencies to find out the ways to avoid this delay.
During the discussion computerisation of TPDS was also reviewed. The State has digitised the data of NFSA beneficiaries but it has not been uploaded on States PDS portal which deprives some beneficiaries of subsidised food grains allocations.
Bihar was asked to display the beneficiaries' list on the portal prominently. It was informed that under a campaign in each village and town, Aadhaar number and other details of beneficiaries are being collected which will be completed in three months.
Bihar was pointed out that its online allocation format is not according to the one suggested by NIC, it was requested to modify it accordingly. The State was also requested to provide link of online allocation to State Food Department's portal which at the moment is available only on State Civil supplies' portal.
During the daylong review it was impressed that to check leakage in PDS, Bihar should install 'Point of Sale Device' at FPS for biometric identification of beneficiaries at the earliest.
State Food Secretary informed that such devises are being installed at 56 FPS of Noor block of Nalanda district under system integrator model. He also informed that DBT will also be introduced as pilot project next month in one of the block of Purnia district.