CVC raps states on rot in ration system

Corruption should be eradicated: Report

The CVC, headed by retired Supreme  Court judge Justice D P Wadhwa in his report said, “Corruption is all pervasive in the entire chain involved in the PDS. It continues to remain a formidable problem. It is true that some officers are doing a good job but then most of the functionaries under them in the Department are typically callous and resort to corrupt practices.”

The report which reflects PDS failure in almost all the states was submitted on Tuesday to a bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and K S Radhakrishnan, that was hearing a petition by the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) on the need for streamlining the PDS.

The Committee slammed PDS in the country as “inefficient and corrupt” and is plagued by black marketing and diversion involving a “vicious cartel of bureaucrats, fair price shop owners and middlemen”.

The report said most of the Rs 28,000-crore subsidy annually spent by the Centre was being pocketed by vested interests and suggested drastic action to stem the rot.
“It (corruption) is in fact a cancerous growth and has to be chopped off. Patchwork methods will not do,’’ said the report.

Advocate Colin Gonzalves, appearing for the PUCL expressed the committee’s concern over the functioning of the PDS in several states, and submitted a chart explaining its working there.

There was large-scale diversion of foodgrains supplied to the PDS; black marketing by FPS dealers; a strong nexus between them and officials of the department; improper record-keeping; false entries in registers; and above all political influence and interference hampering public distribution, alleged the report.

Starting from Delhi, “the PDS is inefficient and corrupt. There is diversion and black marketing of PDS foodgrains on a large scale. The poor people never get the PDS foodgrains in proper quantity and quality. There is all-round complicity of FPS, transporters and corrupt officials of the Civil Supplies Department.”
In Rajasthan, the PDS “is unsatisfactory; there are many irregularities, irregular lifting of grain, no lifting and bulk lifting. PDS has collapsed.”

In Bihar, “the most disappointing fact is that foodgrains are not distributed every month. The committee visited many villages and towns and met lots of beneficiaries. It was a general complaint that during the last year, they got foodgrains only for 2 to 3 months.”
The state of affairs in Karnataka, Orissa, Uttarakhand and Gujarat was similar, says the report. The Bench will hear the matter again on April 7.
DH News Service

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