Food Ministry asks Bihar to lift PDS foodgrains on time

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Slugfest over alleged starvation death

The Food Ministry has urged Bihar to ensure timely lifting of foodgrains quota for the public distribution system (PDS) and upload data of all beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act on the web portal, after a Central team to the State found a delay on the part of the State in doing so.

The Central team was sent to Bihar by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan following a political slugfest in the State over the death of a 60-year-old man, Jago Manjhi in Sheikhpura district, allegedly due to starvation. A probe by the Nitish Kumar government said the death was due to an illness.

“After the day-long discussions with the senior officials of the State government and the team lead by Joint Secretary Deepak Kumar, the Government of India found that there was delay in lifting of foodgrains by the State in some districts, which was the main reason for not getting ration allocations by the beneficiaries on time.

It was also observed that the State has not uploaded the data of NFSA beneficiaries on the portal till now, which is one of the mandatory requirements for the allocation of highly subsidised foodgrains. It is depriving a number of beneficiaries from the allocation of wheat at the rate of ₹2 and rice at the rate of ₹3 a kg,” a Food Ministry release said.

The Central team also reviewed computerisation of the targeted PDS and found that the State had digitised the data of NFSA beneficiaries but had not uploaded it on the portal concerned.

To check leakages, the Bihar Food Secretary informed the Central team that ‘point of sale’ devices were being installed at 56 fair price shops in Nalanda district. Also, direct cash transfer was being introduced as a pilot project next month in one block in Purnia district.

Published on April 07, 2016

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