Tue, Oct 25, 2016 | updated 12:09 PM IST

Paswan asks states asked to expedite reforms to ensure PDS transparency

Updated: Sep 16, 2016 17:45 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept.16 (ANI): Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday appealed to all states to expedite the reforms so as to bring transparency in the functioning of Public Distribution System (PDS), which is a key feature of National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Highlighting the significant role played by Central and State Governments in ensuring food security to more than 80 crore eligible beneficiaries under the NFSA, which is presently being implemented in 34 States/UTs, Paswan requested Kerala and Tamil Nadu also to implement the Act as early as possible.

He was addressing the inaugural session of the National Conference on Reforms in PDS and it Computerization here today.

Paswan appreciated the significant efforts made by the various State/UT Governments in achieving 100 percent digitization of ration cards and automating 1.5 Lakh Fair Price Shops across the country. He also requested the concerned States/UTs, lagging behind in PDS Computerization in general, and in Aadhaar seeding and FPS automation in particular.

Paswan said due to Aadhaar seeding a total of 2.33 crore ghost/fraudulent/duplicate ration cards have been deleted across 27 States and UTs which has led to estimated 'Rightful Targeting of Food Subsidies' of Rs. 14,000 crore.

Addressing the conference, Minister of State of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution C.R. Chaudhary emphasized the need to further improve the efficiency and transparency of all operations related to food security i.e. production, procurement, storage, logistics, distribution and nutrition among others. In order to ensure the timely delivery of quality food-grains and protect consumer rights, he requested the concerned stakeholders to modernize procurement operations, construct scientific storage facilities, implement NFSA and complete the end to end computerization of TPDS operations within the desired timeframes.

Vrinda Sarup, Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, said that the National Conference provides an opportunity to review the progress and devise an effective roadmap for the acceleration of PDS reforms. With the innovative use of technology, significant progress has been reported by States/UTs in last two years. She identified the reduction of inclusion and exclusion errors and Aadhaar validation as the key focus areas so that no eligible beneficiary is denied entitlement under the PDS scheme.

CEO of UIDAI, who also attended the conference, informed that the Section 7 of Aadhaar Act has been notified and made operational w.e.f. 12th of September 2016. He also briefed the gathering on the implications of Section 7 and Section 12 of Aadhaar Act which requires Aadhaar authentication on possession of Aadhaar for availing subsidy from consolidated fund of India. Those who do not have Aadhaar will be required to enroll for it. Departments can also provide for alternate methods of identification, so that no beneficiary is denied the benefit from Government Schemes in the interim.

Officers from the State Governments of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra shared the Best Practices in Aadhaar Seeding, FPS automation and Supply Chain Management for the benefit of others States/UTs. (ANI)