SHILLONG, Feb 8 - One of the most important Central schemes – the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) – is poorly implemented in Meghalaya and the State is nowhere close to implement the e-TDPS for better transparency.
There have been several reports of leakages in the PDS and even the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report has ticked the Government about these leakages.
The process to introduce electronic monitoring and distribution of foodgrains under PDS started over five years ago. Successive governments assured of speedy implementation, but have not kept the promises.
Last year, there was a huge controversy after the National People’s Party alleged of a scam during the tender process for supply of sugar under the PDS. The party demanded a CBI inquiry, however, the issue slipped from public memory.
Few years ago, the CAG report stated that the State Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) Department lifted 23,159.95 tonne “excess food grain”, based merely on estimates.
The department also issued a whooping 15, 202 “bogus ration cards to Above Poverty Line families”. The CAG report also noted several other anomalies like non-distribution of foodgrains despite lifting it from the Centre and discrepancies in the number of Fair Price Shops operating and inspection of these shops.
There were other reports of pilferage of foodgrains reported periodically over the years. One of the issues that repeatedly came up was lifting wheat over the years despite there was no consumer. A magisterial inquiry was also instituted in this regard.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary KS Kropha said recently that he would review the implementation of e-PDS in the State. He added that the implementation process has reached the wholesalers’ level. “We would review the implementation of e-PDS,” he assured.
The issue of implementing the e-PDS came up as the State has shown keen interest on cashless transaction in recent days after the demonetisation process.
On the other hand, the State government is silent on the Centre’s suggestion that it is willing to introduce the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme in the PDS, especially in urban areas of States to stop leakages.