While the state government has launched biometric authentication of beneficiaries covered by the public distribution system (PDS), a state legislature committee has pointed at the faults in their selection of those eligible for this subsidised grain.The public accounts committee (PAC) headed by Congress MLA Gopaldas Agrawal has sought that the list of those who can purchase subsidised grain under the PDS be revised regularly to weed out ineligible families and replace them with those who are deserving.The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report for the year ended March 31, 2013, noted that between 2008-09 to 2012-13, the list of BPL families was not reviewed annually to delete ineligible beneficiaries. This led to distribution of 42.23 lakh metric tons of grains worth Rs 2,102.71 crore to ineligible beneficiaries between 2008-2013, while depriving 26.69 lakh BPL families of subsidised foodgrains.”…all hurdles should be overcome to ensure that only eligible beneficiaries are covered in the system,” said the committee in its report submitted to the legislature in the recent budget session. “The list of BPL and Antyodaya beneficiaries must be revised every year to drop ineligible names and include eligible ones. A time-bound programme should be implemented for this,” it added.”The mandatory regular revision of ration cards was not done or was erroneous. Hence, ineligible families got the benefit of the scheme,” the report said, adding that the details of vehicle and land ownership could be tallied with the transport and revenue departments. It pointed to how in areas like Beed, Nandurbar, Jalgaon and Thane, the details of land and vehicle ownership provided by card holders in their self-declarations was not verified to cancel those not eligible for subsidised grain.Families in rural areas which are included in the Integrated Rural Development Project (IRDP) list of BPL families for 1997-98 with annual income less than Rs 15,000 were eligible for BPL cards. However, it was mandatory that they should not own two or four wheelers and gas connections. In urban areas, families having annual income less than Rs 15,000 and fulfilling these conditions were eligible. The criteria of not owning two wheelers and gas connections were removed in May 2005.Maharashtra has around 1.48 crore ration cards (or 7.0016 crore targeted beneficiaries of an 11.23 crore estimated population) covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013. It covers up to 75% of the rural and up to 50% of the urban population for receiving subsidized food grains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). The state government is seeding Aadhaar numbers with PDS cards and has achieved over 86% seeding.NFSA families get 5kg allotment of subsidised rice and wheat per person. Antyadoya beneficiaries get 35 kg of grain every month at highly subsidised rates.The Maharashtra government has equipped fair price shops with point of sale (POS) machines to disburse grain through Aadhaar enabled biometric authentication.CASE STUDYThe CAG report, 2013, noted that between 2008-09 to 2012-13, the list of BPL families was not reviewed annually to delete ineligible beneficiaries
Congress

Public Accounts Committee

PAC

Foodgrain

Public Distribution System

PDS

Maharashtra Government

Subsidy

CAG

National Food Security Act

beneficiaries

NFSA

GOPALDAS AGRAWAL

Legislature Committee

Biometric Authentication

Comptroller and Auditor General

BPL families

Point of Sale

Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS)

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Update names of candidates eligible for foodgrain subsidy: Gopaldas Agrawal