BANGALORE: As part of reforms in the public distribution system, the government will stop issuing licences for individuals to open fair price shops, said Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao.
He told reporters here on Tuesday that licence to open fair price shops will be issued to Taluk Agricultural Produce Co-Operative Marketing Societies, Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, women self-help groups and Food and Civil Supplies Corporation. A bill is being prepared to amend the PDS Control Order to facilitate this. Existing shops owned by individuals can continue, he said.
The minister said of the 20,845 fair price shops in the state, 11,664 belong to individuals, 9,007 to cooperative societies and the rest to Food and Civil Supplies Corporation. Licences of over 1,200 shops were cancelled over irregularities by its owners.
He said a food inspector will conduct a detailed inspection of a shop once every month by meeting all cardholders. Besides, Ahara Adalat will be held once a month. He said the government will launch mid-day meal scheme in select 8-10 government hospitals in Bangalore on pilot basis next month. Talks are on with ISKCON in this regard, he said.
Dinesh released a report on PDS for 2012-13 brought out by Public Affairs Centre. It was made after analysing 7,344 responses. It observed that four per cent were aware of the toll-free number, eight per cent of the food inspector and 10 per cent of the vigilance committees at the shop and GP-levels. Nearly 79 per cent shops displayed information boards, of which many were found to be freshly done indicating a response to this impending survey. Claims made by 70 per cent of the food inspectors that they visited the shops at least once a month was contradicted by themselves when 72 per cent of them felt that they were not able to inspect all the shops in their jurisdiction in a month. Thirty eight per cent of them were not aware that they were members of these committees.
■ Mandatory display of boards at all the PDS shops with the minimum requisite information
■ Permanent solutions to address lack of awareness among users, lack of transparency and accountability
■ Special emphasis on building awareness on continuous and permanent basis. A separate budget could be allocated for this purpose
■ Conduct the social audit of PDS
■ Record grievances and monitor their progress at fair price shop-levels