THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Nivedita P Haran commission report on impact of computerising the public distribution system, which was approved by the government on Wednesday, contains major recommendations including providing subsidy to the ration cardholders directly to their bank accounts.
The report, submitted about two years ago, had proposed that the Civil Supplies Department should take steps for direct cash transfer of subsidy to the beneficiaries to ensure that subsidies reach the hands of those eligible. The subsidy to the APL card holders should be remitted to their bank accounts, it recommended. The commission was formed by the government for evaluating the impact of computerising the PDS and the steps to be initiated for improving its transparency and efficacy.
As part of providing choices to customers and promoting healthy competition among the dealers, the commission suggested ration card portability. This would help in streamlining the sale of ration entitlements through retail outlets. It has also been suggested that the licences of retail ration outlets should be renewed once in three years. With functioning of Area Wholesale Dealers (AWD) not economically viable, thecommission proposed avoiding AWD in PDS and recommended to the government to take up wholesale supply of foodgrains. It has also mooted door-to-door delivery to the ration outlets, which could be done by a government agency, especially Supplyco.
On storage facility, the report said that Supplyco should come up with grain silosand seek scientific storage facilities. With frequent complaints being raised about the distribution system, an inspection system based on biometric system under which the officials in the Food and Civil Supplies Department could directly inspect the ration shops wasrecommended in the report. It also calls for a social audit mechanism which could be accessed online. Stating that the ration outlets should be converted as local ‘corner shops’, the commission said that the ration outlets could also be handed over to Kudumbasree units on an experimental basis.
The commission noted that the kerosene supplied through PDS was being diverted for other purposes such as operatinggenerators and boats. It said the subsidy to kerosene provided for the economically- weaker sections should reach them directly. It urged steps to be taken for direct cash transfer of subsidy to the beneficiaries.
OTHER cabinet DECISIONS
T’Puram: The Cabinet decided to recommend to the Governor to prorogue the Legislative Assembly proceedings. A decision was taken to set up single doctor ESI dispensaries at Pathanamthitta,Manjeri and Perinthalmanna. The one-time settlement scheme of the Kerala State Housing Board has been extended up to September 1. S Venugopal, former director, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), has been appointed as member of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.