Bihar going all out to ensure that PDS system works

As mentioned in our earlier posts, Bihar is taking specific steps to improve its Public Distribution System. Bihar sometime back had introduced coupon system where the coupons were distributed to ration card holders, who could go to the ration shops / dealers for receiving his / her entitlements of rations / kerosene, etc.

Some of the problems being faced under the system included non-receipt of coupons by the genuine persons (as coupons got distributed / sold to non-eligible persons), duplication / falsification of the coupons by the dealers while claiming fresh supplies.

The Govt. has now introduced a slew of measures to curb these practices. These include bar-coding of the coupons, so that coupons cannot be falsified or duplicated. The whole process of distribution of coupons to 14.5 million persons will be video-graphed. Every eligible person would have to produce his/her ration card, and photographs pf the whole family before getting the coupons for the whole year. To discourage employees in malpractices, the State Govt. has issued instructions that any employee found indulging in illegal selling of the coupons will be sacked on the spot.

Marketing officers and dealers can face cases under non-bailable sections of existing anti-hoarding laws if proven guilty of duplicating coupons. They are liable to imprisonment between six months and one year.It is wondered, would it not be simpler to use Direct Cash Transfer System to eligible beneficiaries allowing them to purchase from any shop the grains of the quality / price that the family can afford. Govt. could try to control the prices of the commodities by ensuring sufficient supply of the materials.

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