Beneficiaries missing from list,Haryana blames ‘computer virus’

The Haryana government found itself on a sticky wicket over the number of beneficiaries under its ambitious food security scheme

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: April 8, 2014 1:18 pm

The Haryana government found itself on a sticky wicket over the number of beneficiaries under its ambitious food security scheme. It all happened in the Assembly on Tuesday when Congress MLA from Ambala,Venod Sharma,pointed out discrepancies in the number of beneficiaries in his constituency and forced the Food and Supply Minister Mahender Pratap to admit the error.

Despite trying to wriggle out of the situation Pratap finally blamed it all on “a computer virus and assured the MLA of introducing corrective measures immediately.

The issue was raised through a calling attention motion raised by various Congress legislators including Venod Sharma,B B Batra,Aftab Ahmed and Sampat Singh. All legislators raised their concerns on the implementation of the food security scheme.

Speaking on the issue,Venod Sharma alleged there was a deliberate attempt by certain officers in the government to exclude most beneficiaries in Ambala from the ambit of the scheme. He said,“the number of priority households have been drastically reduced. The number of beneficiaries as priority household for food security is much less than the number of people under AAY and BPL scheme.”

Quoting figures,Sharma said,“The Food Security Scheme is for poor. We consider people covered under BPL and AAY schemes as poor. Shockingly,the number of priority households for food security scheme in Ambala city is less than 30 per cent of AAY and BPL beneficiaries. Whereas BPL and AAY families are 16,608 in Ambala,priority households under food security scheme are only 3,699. How is that possible?”

Mahender Partap initially tried to defend the government’s stand. But during the discussion,he was informed by officers of his department that a “computer virus” had damaged the database which had led to the discrepancy. He said,“In Ambala district,we had identified 1,53,980 households with 7,11,664 persons for provisional list for coverage under the National Food Security Ordinance,2013. Of this 82,287 households with 3,99,816 persons were from rural areas and 71,693 households with 3,11,848 persons were from urban areas. However,due to virus in computed data received from Registrar General of India some entries got deleted. .. In other places also certain instances have been reported where some families have not found a place in the provisional list due to various reasons”.

However,Sharma did not appear convinced with the Minister’s alibi and suggested that the government introduce corrective measures and issue strict instructions for rechecking the number of beneficiaries.

B B Batra,also suggested that the government exercise extreme precision and precaution while implementing the scheme.

Mahender Partap assured the House that “the government has decided to cover all AAY and BPL households,under the National Food Security Ordinance,2013,till proper re-verification is completed”.

The minister said,“Beneficiaries can register any grievance for redressal through State Consumer Helpline and PDS Help Desk at toll free numbers 1800-180-2087 and 1800-102-3405 respectively. Deputy commissioners in their respective jurisdiction have been designated as district grievance redressal officers.”

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