Question No.1 : What is the Targeted Public Distribution System? What are the various entitlements being given under the scheme?

Answer : In June 1997, the Government of India launched the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) with focus on the poor.

2.         TPDS is operated under the joint responsibility of Central Government and State/Union Territory (UT) Governments. The Central Government is responsible for procurement, allocation and transportation of foodgrains upto the designated depots of the Food Corporation of India. The operational responsibilities for lifting and distributing the allocated foodgrains within the States/UTs, identification of eligible Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, issuance of ration cards to them and supervision over distribution of allocated foodgrains to eligible card holders through the fair price shops are that of the State/UT Governments.

3.         Government of India has been making allocations of foodgrains to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) on the basis of 1993-94 poverty estimates of Planning Commission and March 2000 population estimates of Registrar General of India or the number of such families actually identified and ration cards issued to them by the State/UT Governments, whichever is less. Government of India has been making allocation of subsidized foodgrains for all the accepted number of 6.52 crore BPL families including about 2.42 crore Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families @ 35 kg per family per month. Allocation of subsidized foodgrains are also made to Above Poverty Line (APL) families based on the availability of foodgrains in the Central pool and past offtake. Presently, the allocation of foodgrains to APL families to the States/UTs range between 15 kg. and 35 kg. per family per month.  However, these allocations will change under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, details of which may be seen under the FAQs relating to NFSA, 2013.

4.         Further, Government makes allocation of foodgrains for other welfare schemes such as Midday Meal Scheme and Wheat Based Nutrition Programme under ICDS, Nutritional Programme for Adolescent Girls, Annapurna Scheme and Emergency Feeding Programme, etc. Govt. also makes additional allocation of foodgrains from time to time depending upon the availability of foodgrains in stocks and requirements/requests received from the State/UT Governments.

Question No.2 : What is the AAY scheme? What are the estimated number of AAY families and the number of AAY families identified & ration cards issued in the States and UTs ?

Answer :         In order to make Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) more focused and targeted, the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 for one crore poorest of the poor families. Since then the scheme has been expanded thrice. The first expansion took place on 5th June, 2003, second expansion on 3rd August, 2004 and third expansion on 12th May 2005, increasing the number of families by 50 lakh at each expansion, thus raising the total coverage of AAY families to 2.50 crore.

2.         AAY contemplated identification of one crore poorest of the poor families from amongst the number of BPL families covered under TPDS within the States/UT and providing them food grains at a highly subsidized rate of Rs.2/ per kg. for wheat and Rs. 3/ per kg for rice. The States/UTs are required to bear the distribution cost, including margin to dealers and retailers as well as the transportation cost. Thus the entire food subsidy is being passed on to the consumers under the scheme. The scale of issue that was initially 25 kg per family per month has been increased to 35 kg per family per month with effect from 1st April, 2002.

3.         The identification of the Antyodaya families and issue of distinctive ration cards to these families is the responsibility of the concerned State Governments. Guidelines were issued to the States/UTs for identification of the poorest of the poor families as Antyodaya families and additional Antyodaya families under the expanded AAY.

4.         The focus on the following groups has been enshrined in the scheme guidelines:

a) Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitutes and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas.

b) Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons/disabled persons/ persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.

c) Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence.

d) All primitive tribal households.

5.         The above guidelines have further been amended to include all eligible BPL families of HIV positive persons in the AAY list on priority against the criteria mentioned in the guidelines for identification of families under AAY within respective ceilings on numbers of AAY families communicated by this Department.

6.         Up to 2.50 crore families may be covered under the scheme. However, as on 30.09.2014, so far 2.42 crore families have been issued AAY cards by the States/UTs.

Question No.3 : What is the procedure for obtaining BPL/AAY/APL ration card?

Ans:     Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State/Union Territory (UT) Governments. Central Government is responsible for procurement, allocation and transportation of foodgrains upto the designated depots of the Food Corporation of India. The operational responsibility for allocation and distribution of foodgrains within the States/UTs, identification of eligible Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, issuance of ration cards to them and supervision over and monitoring of functioning of Fair Price Shops (FPSs) rests with the concerned State/UT Government. In view of the above, as this Department does not issue BPL/AAY/APL ration card, for this purpose an individual may approach the Food and Civil Supplies office of the concerned State/UT.

 

Under National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, coverage under TPDS has been delinked from poverty estimates. The coverage of 75% and 50% of the rural and urban population respectively prescribed under the Act is substantially above the poverty estimates. Subject to coverage determined for each State/UT, the State Government or UT Administrations are required to identify the eligible households and issue ration cards to them. Thus, States/UTs will issue ration cards to the eligible households covered under the Priority Households and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).

 Question No.4 : How much quantity of Wheat and Rice are admissible for a BPL/AAY Cardholder and at what price?

Ans: Allocation of foodgrains (rice and wheat) is made by Central Government under Targeted Public Distribution System(TPDS) @ 35 kg. per family per month for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families including Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families in the country. Allocations of foodgrains for Above Poverty Line (APL) families are made depending upon availability of foodgrain stocks in the Central Pool and past offtake by the State/UT. The allocations for APL families in States/UTs range between 15 to 35 kg per family per month.

The Central Issue Price(CIP) of foodgrains being supplied under TPDS is as under:-

(figure in Rs. per kg)

Commodity

APL

BPL

AAY

Rice

8.30

(Grade ‘A’)

 

 

7.95

(Common)

5.65

3.00

Wheat

6.10

4.15

2.00

Coarse grains

4.50

3.00

1.50

 

However, under NFSA 2013, the APL and BPL categories have been done away with and instead, only, eligible households i.e. priority households and the households covered under the AAY shall be entitled to receive foodgrains under TPDS i.e. rice, wheat and coarse grains @ Rs 3/-, 2/- and Rs. 1/- per kg respectively. The entitlements of priority households shall be @ 5 kg per person per month and the AAY families will get 35 kg per family per month.

Question No.5: What is the grievance redressal mechanism available for the beneficiaries of TPDS?

Ans:     The operational responsibility for allocation and distribution of foodgrains within the States/UTs, identification of eligible Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, issuance of ration cards to them and supervision over and monitoring of functioning of Fair Price Shops (FPSs) rests with the concerned State/UT Government. Therefore, as and when complaints are received in the Department from individuals and organizations as well as through press reports, they are sent to State/UT Governments concerned for inquiry and appropriate action. In case of any grievance relating to the above- referred aspects, the Food & Civil Supplies authorities of the State/UT concerned may be approached.

Further, some States/UTs have established toll free helpline numbers for redressal and registration of grievances under TPDS. A list of the toll free and other helpline numbers reported to be established in the States/UTs is enclosed as per Annexure.

NFSA, 2013 also provides for a two tier grievance redressal mechanism comprising of District Grievance Redressal Officer (DGRO) at the District level and State Food Commission (SFC) at the State level.

 

Annexure

List of Toll-free helplines for TPDS in States/UTs (as on 28.10.2014)

Sl. No.

State / UT

4-digit

1800 series

Other number

 

1

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

1967

 

 

2

Andhra Pradesh

1967

1800-425-2977

1800-425-0082

 

3

Arunachal Pradesh

1967

 

 

4

Assam

 

1800-345-3611

 

5

Bihar

 

1800-3456-194

 

6

Chandigarh

1967

1800-180-2068

 

7

Chhattisgarh

1967

1800-233-3663

 

8

Dadra and Nagar Haveli

 

1800-233-4004

 

9

Daman and Diu

 

 

 

10

Delhi

1967

1800-11-0841

 

11

Goa

 

1800-233-0022

 

12

Gujarat

1967

1800-233-5500

 

13

Haryana

1967

1800-180-2090

1800-180-2087

 

14

Himachal Pradesh

 

1800-180-8026

 

15

Jammu and Kashmir

1967

1800-180-7011

 

16

Jharkhand

 

 

 

17

Karnataka

1967

1800-425-9339

 

18

Kerala

1967

1800-425-1550

 

19

Lakshadweep

 

 

 

20

Madhya Pradesh

1967

 

155343

181

21

Maharashtra

1967

1800-22-4950

 

22

Manipur

1967

1800-345-3821

 

23

Meghalaya

1967

1800-345-3644

 

24

Mizoram

1967

1800-345-3891

 

25

Nagaland

 

1800-345-3704

1800-345-3705

 

26

Orissa

 

1800-345-6770

155335

27

Puducherry

 

 

 

28

Punjab

 

 

 

29

Rajasthan

 

1800-180-6030

1800-180-6126

 

30

Sikkim

1967

1800-345-3236

 

31

Tamil Nadu

 

 

(044) 2859-2828

32

Telangana

1967

 

 

33

Tripura

 

 

 

34

Uttar Pradesh

1967

1800-180-0150

 

35

Uttarakhand

 

 

 

36.

West Bengal

1967

1800-345-5505

 

           

Question No.6: What measures have been taken to improve the PDS in the Country?

Ans:     Strengthening and streamlining of TPDS is a continuous process. Central Government has regularly reviewed and issue instructions from time to time to States/Union Territories to strengthen functioning of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) by improving monitoring mechanism and vigilance, increased transparency in functioning of TPDS, adoption of revised Model Citizen’s Charter, use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools and to improve the efficiency of Fair Price Shop operations. A Nine Point Action Plan is also under implementation since July2006 for monitoring the functioning of TPDS in States/UTs.

Moreover, Section 12 of NFSA, 2013 stipulates that (1) The Central and State Governments shall endeavour to progressively undertake necessary reforms in the Targeted Public Distribution System in consonance with the role envisaged for them in the Act. The reforms shall, inter alia, include—

(a) doorstep delivery of foodgrains to the TPDS outlets;

(b) application of information and communication technology tools including end-to-end computerisation in order to ensure transparent recording of transactions at all levels, and to prevent diversion;

(c) leveraging ''aadhaar'' for unique identification, with biometric information of entitled beneficiaries for proper targeting of benefits under this Act;

(d) preference to public institutions or public bodies such as Panchayats, self help groups, co-operatives, in licensing of fair price shops and management of fair price shops by women or their collectives;

(f) diversification of commodities distributed under the Public Distribution System over a period of time;

(g) support to local public distribution models and grains banks;

 

(h) introducing schemes, such as, cash transfer, food coupons, or other schemes, to the targeted beneficiaries in lieu of their foodgrain entitlements specified in Chapter II, in such area and manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

Question No. 7 : Whether Government of India is undertaking any programme for strengthening and upgrading the skills of personnel engaged in the functioning and implementation of TPDS.

Answer :         Department of Food & Public Distribution, Government of India is implementing a scheme component called TPDS- Training. This aims at strengthening and upgrading the skills of personnel engaged in the functioning and implementation of TPDS by conducting training programmes and organizing lectures, seminars and workshops on policy issues with regard to TPDS and related fields for functionaries of various levels in the State Food and Civil Supplies Department and State Agencies like State Civil Supplies Corporations, etc. To make TPDS more effective & efficient, training is also provided to FPS owners, members of PRIs and Urban Local Bodies and members of Vigilance Committees at various levels, engaged in TPDS. In order to successfully implement National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, training programmes are also being organized under the scheme to sensitize and train key official of the State/UT Governments, FCI, Master Trainers nominated by States/UTs, etc through FCI or other agency.                                                                                                                                                                                      

2.         Central Government provides financial assistance to the State/UT Governments for conducting training programmes @ Rs.500/- per person per day. The maximum duration of the training programme may be five working days and the maximum assistance per training programme would be Rs.50,000/-. In the case of Seminars/Workshops the duration is two days. The financial assistance for conducting Seminars/Workshops is also Rs.500/- per person per day and the maximum assistance per Seminar/Workshop would be Rs.50,000/-.   

 Question No.8 : What is the provision for giving commission/margin to the FPS dealers/owners for distribution of foodgrains by them under TPDS?

 Answer: Public Distribution System (Control) Order,  2001 mandates the States/UT Governments to issue licenses to Fair Price Shops owners, monitor their operations and take all required action to ensure smooth functioning of TPDS. The State/UT Governments have been given flexibility in the matter of fixing the margin for the fair price shops. This is, however, not to apply to distribution of foodgrains under Antyodaya Anna Yojana where end retail price is to be retained at Rs.2 a kg for wheat and Rs.3 a kg for rice. The issue prices of foodgrains at Fair Price Shops are fixed by the State/UT Governments keeping into consideration the transport and handling charges, margin to be paid to the fair price shops owners, etc.