KCR favors giving money instead of PDS rice to poor

Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao today opined that a fool-proof distribution policy should be implemented to remove irregularities and pass on the total benefits to the beneficiaries in the Public Distribution System (PDS).

The Chief Minister held a review meeting here on Saturday at Pragati Bhavan against the backdrop of ration dealers serving a strike notice and what should be the strategy of the government. Ministers  C Laxma Reddy, Government Chief Advisor  Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary  SP Singh, MP  Balka Suman, MLC  Karne Prabhakar, Civil Supplies Commissioner  C V Ananad, senior officials  S Narsing Rao,  Ramakrishna Rao, Vakati Karuna, Shanta Kumari, Smita Sabharwal, Bhoopal Reddy and others participated.

            “Every year the government was spending Rs 6,500 crore and distributing essential commodities to the poor through the Ration shops. Several All India Services Officers and a host of the State government officers and other staff members were working on the program. The government was being bogged down with the system and while spending thousands of crores of rupees, the program was not yielding the desired results. The essential commodities meant for the poor were being diverted to black market and there was a mafia operating in supplying of the PDS rice. The illegal operators have come to such a pass that they are able to influence and manage the higher officials. 

“Everyday, newspapers are publishing reports about the rice being hoarded and caught. The reports on the illegal hoarding and supply of the PDS rice were causing grave concern. One will often feel bad and sad that though several thousands of crores of rupees are being spent and with a lot of hardships but yet the government was getting a bad name. This situation should go. The money being spent on the poor should reach them cent percent. For this we have to come up with a new and effective method,” the Chief Minister said.

Officials brief the CM on DBT

The officials have responded based on the suggestion given by the CM. They have explained about the changes that took place in the PDS at several places in the country. They informed that there is a system in place called direct benefit transfer (DBT). They said in the Union Territories like Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Dadra Haveli, the beneficiaries are deposited the money directly into their accounts instead of the essential commodities under the DBT system through the PDS.  The officials have reminded that Prime Minister  Narendra Modi has requested all the State governments to  implement the DBT system. In 2013, the then UPA government had brought in Food Security Act 20/2013 also suggested the money transfer as subsidy to the beneficiaries. It also explained how it would be beneficial to transfer the money instead of distributing the essential commodities. The officers said as on date rice is being supplied and that too in a fixed time. Instead, if the money is transferred the beneficiaries can buy whatever commodity they require. Hence the officials have suggested to the CM that the money should be directly deposited to the beneficiaries’ accounts. Responding to this, the CM has asked the officials to find out whether supply of rice is good or transferring the money?

Alternative arrangements to meet strike

The officials said that they were making alternative arrangements against the strike notice given by the dealers. If the dealers do not withdraw their strike, it is better to transfer the money to the accounts of the beneficiaries. (NSS)