Friday, December 2, 2022

NPP questions govt on PDS irregularities

National People’s Party (NPP) State unit has questioned the State government on irregularities in public distribution system (PDS).
Noting how several studies and reports had highlighted the irregularities, the party in a press release said the average leakage from off-taken food grains of PDS in the country was 46.7% in 2011-2012 as per an estimate. In the State-wise leakage estimation, Nagaland was found to have 94.7% leakage of PDS off-taken food grains in the same period. The report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India during the period 2005 to 2011 had also unearthed serious irregularities in the State’s PDS structure, it added.
Moreover, the CAG report revealed that the Department of Food & Civil Supplies had issued ration cards randomly. Some other anomalies reported were large scale diversion of food grains to open market, allocation of food grains to non-existent institutions, hostels and Village Grain Banks, short allocation, short lifting and delayed distribution of food grains, charging higher rates and inadequate infrastructure, etc. The CAG had concluded in its report that all these anomalies and corrupt practices had seriously affected implementation of PDS in Nagaland, the release added.
NPP said it was also unfortunate that there were no adequate storage depots and warehouses in any district, with even Food Corporation of India (FCI) facilities, including the one at Dimapur, lacking in proper infrastructure and monitoring by the State agencies, due to which a huge quantity of rice and other commodities ended up at private godowns of unscrupulous businessmen.
Noting that the State government had extended the number of state stockists handling tide over rice in 2022-2023 as per an official notification, dated February 18, 2022, the party said it was aware that the tide over allocation of rice under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), which had been released from May 2022 to March 2023, amounted to 3,873 MT per month to all districts, but no proper records of the distribution had been found till date.
According to the above allocation, the party said Mokokchung should receive 400 MT, Wokha 380 MT, Phek 300 MT, Peren 200 MT, Tseminyu 100 MT, Kohima 400 MT, Longleng 200 MT, Dimapur 448 MT, Kiphire 220 MT, Shamatore 100 MT, Mon 400 MT, Niuland 100 MT, Chumukedima 100 MT, Noklak 100 MT, Tuensang 125 MT and Zunheboto 300 MT tide over rice through their respective stockists.
In 2018 ad in 2019, NPP recalled that Nagaland Public Rights Awareness and Action Forum (NPRAAF) had raised serious concerns over the selection of State stockists and allocation without properly identifying the targeted beneficiaries. It had also discovered that targeted PDS (TPDS) was non-existent and there were no proper records despite the State receiving more than surplus items each month from the Centre.
The party claimed that Nagaland received 16,625 MT of rice annually with a monthly allocation of 1,385 MT of rice and 76,331 MT under Priority Households (PHH) with a monthly allocation of 6,360 MT. According to this supply and distribution, every individual in Nagaland should have received 4 kg rice per month on an average.
NPP questioned the State government where all these huge quantities of rice had disappeared and who had been the indirect beneficiaries of PDS for so many years. It demanded that the people responsible for all these corrupt practices should be exposed in public and appropriate action taken against them.
Further, the party said the rural farmers would benefit if they were provided with more incentives for local produce instead of solely relying on PDS. It suggested that the State government could mull over a programme whereby the funds allocated for PDS could be utilised for subsidies, agricultural loans and for procuring better seeds, modern equipment and organic manures for the local farmers to help create a better local economy. It appealed to all civil society groups, NGOs and citizens concerned to always question the State government on issues related to development of Nagaland and also rise and claim what was legally and rightfully theirs.
NPP said it was greatly dissatisfied and miffed at the manner in which the State government had been trying its best to elude questions posed to it by various civil societies and NGOs on issues and matter related to the well-being and development of the State, including the PDS. Since the enactment of National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, the scope of PDS had been widened with the increase of level of subsidies and expansion of coverage up to 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of urban population under TPDS, the release added.

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