PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM
A well targeted and properly functioning Public Distribution System is an
important constituent of the strategy for poverty eradication. The importance of an
effective Public Distribution System that ensures availability of food at affordable
prices at house hole level for the poor. Govt. of Orissa attaches a lot of importance to
the proper implementation of Targeted PDS. The new system has been devised to cater mainly
to the needs of the population below poverty line.
The PDS operations commence with procurement of food grains, their movement, storage, stock position and the quantum and the modality of ration cards, no. Of units, items distributed, quantity distributed enforcement activities are to be reviewed by the State/Central Government administration for proper monitoring of PDS.
It is possible to have appropriate monitoring of PDS operations at District, State and Centre.
FUNCTIONING OF PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYTEM IN THE STATE (TCS REPORT)
The Public Distribution System (PDS) was started with a view to provide the poor and vulnerable sections of the Society, certain essential commodities of daily use at subsidized prices. This system, in turn, will bring about stability of market price of different commodities, availability of food grains and equity in distribution. The present working of this system has been a departure from the original idea. The rich and the urbanites have a major share from the present arrangement. Functioning of this system in the urban areas is better organized than in rural areas.
The PDS works thus a well-organized network of different agencies, which are involved in various stages starting from procurement of food grains till their distribution to the common man. At the apex are the Depts. Of Food and Civil Supplies. They are the monitoring agencies and look after various policy matters. The Food Corporation of India (FCI) is the agency looking after the procurement of food grains from producers, their storage and also the import of other means food items. At the state level, we have the Depts. Of Food & Civil Supplies supervising the entire functioning. The Civil Supplies Corporation plays the same role in the state as the FCI at the center. At the district and Sub divisional, levels, the District Adm. is in charge of the Distribution system.
The primary outlet under this system is the FAIR PRICE SHOP (FPS), from which we buy our rations. Number of Fair Price Shops in a locality depends on the number of people living within a particular area. The yardstick of one FPS is for two thousand persons. The officials of the FS & CW department along with the District Administration authorities supervise the functioning of FPSs. In many States, there is provision for mobile Fair Price Shops in the hilly and inaccessible areas. Items supplied through the PDS include rice, wheat, sugar, kerosene, edible oil, dal and sometimes potato and onion to check the rise of price in the open market. The dealership is granted either to an individual or to a cooperative. It cannot be said that always a cooperative working better than an individual. The civil supplies corporation has opened up some shops, which function better than other.
A dealership is granted invariably on the recommendation of the local M.L.A. sometimes, not very desirable elements crop into this system. There have been incidents of group rivalry on the issue of dealership. It is seen that sometimes people of a particular political opinion do not like to take ration managed by a person of different political opinion. Popular supervision and participation in the distribution system is most essential. Complain and complaints against the system could be eliminated to a great extent if the panchayats and popular committees are engaged in the system.
Through, the PDS has been in Service for many years some loophole has been
identified, which need be looked often of its proper functioning. Some of the problems are
Complaints of consumers are reported in the functioning of P.D.S.. Vigilance squard should be strengthened to detect corruption in this Department. Personnel inchage of the Department should be chosen carefully and field staff should be recruited directly by the O.P.S.C. Promotion avenues should be made available to them so that meritorious & honest officers will get promotion and dishonest officers will be punished and kept in insensitive posts.
In the light of heavy problems faced by various agencies involved in the PDS, the following suggestions are furnished for
Last but not the least, popular participation should be sought for successful functioning of PDS. The popular participation need be institutionalized of Gram Panchayat or Citizen's committees with proper representative from different sections of the society. A vigilant and cooperative public will go a long way in making this system more viable and effective.