August 3, 2021 8:13:33 pm
During the last three financial years between 2018-19 and 2020-21, a total of 3,226 complaints were received by the Gujarat government regarding corruption and irregularities in the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the state, data tabled in Lok Sabha on Tuesday stated.
Of the complaints filed in Gujarat, 1,092 were registered during Covid pandemic-hit 2020-21, stated a reply from Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, in response to a question on “corruption and irregularities in PDS” asked by BJP MPs Poonamben Maadam (Gujarat) and Rama Devi (Bihar).
During this three-year period, a total of 16,906 complaints were filed in Bihar, which includes 7,076 cases in 2020-21. The figures about irregularities in PDS in the state comes on a day which is being celebrated as “Annoutsav” by the Gujarat government, as part of the nine-day celebrations to mark the completion of five years of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s rule.
Due to the pandemic, in addition to subsidised foodgrains provided under National Food Security Act to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and priority households (PHH) under PMGKAY, Government of India was providing five kilogram of foodgrains per person per month free to all beneficiaries for a period of eight months between April-November 2020.
Further under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package, five kilogram foodgrains, per person, per month was given to migrants not covered under NFSA during May and June 2020. Under PMGKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana), Gujarat received 15.3 lakh metric tonne of foodgrains between April-November 2020, while Bihar received 34.63 lakh metric tonnes during the same period. In addition to this, Gujarat also received over 38,000 metric tonnes of foodgrains under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme, while Bihar received 86,000 metric tonnes.
“As offence committed in violation of the provisions of the Targeted Public Distribution System (Control) Order, 2015 is liable for penal action under the Essential Commodities Act, 1995, immediate action is taken by states and union territories accordingly. Enquiries are made, licenses of Fair Price Shop dealers are suspended or cancelled as per seriousness of the complaints. In appropriate cases, criminal prosecution and raids are also ordered. In some cases disciplinary action against government servants are also taken,” the reply added.
The TDPS is operated under joint responsibilities of Central and State governments, wherein operational responsibilities like identification of households or beneficiaries, issuance of ration cards, allocation of foodgrains to all Fair Price Shops, distribution, licensing and monitoring of Fair price shops and grievance redressal of beneficiaries.
During the last three years, action taken under relevant provisions of the TPDS (Control) Order, 2015 is around 1108 cases in Gujarat, while in Bihar action was taken in 2262 cases, the written reply in Lok Sabha on Tuesday added. Mohammad Shahid, secretary, food, civil supplies and consumer affairs in Gujarat did not respond to phone calls and messages.
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