Visits Fair Price Shop at Panchayat Dhok; Concludes 2-day J&K visit
JAMMU, APRIL 3: Union Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution, Sanjeev Chopra, has appreciated the reforms introduced by the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), J&K for holistic transformation and streamlining of the public distribution system.
Interacting with the officers of the FCS&CA Department here today, the Union Secretary hailed the commendable efforts made by the Department to make the Public Distribution System hassle-free and at the same time stressed the need for immediate integration of e-Pos with the Weighing Scale.
He asked the Department to build adequate capacity and be ready for implementation of Route Optimization Plans as and when the same are notified by the Government of India and also urging for effective participation in Smart PDS when the same is rolled out by the Government of India.
Earlier, in his presentation, Commissioner Secretary FCS&CA, Zubair Ahmad presented an overview of the functioning of the Department with stress on new initiatives. He informed the Union Secretary that there are 24.80 lakh ration card holders in J&K covering a population 96.74 lakh beneficiaries with cent percent Aadhaar Seeding.
He said the Aadhaar Seeding has facilitated removal of more than a million bogus beneficiaries. He said the Public Distribution System in J&K is built around a strong and widespread network of 6735 ration shops including 2104 govt shops and 4631 private outlets. He said ePoS devices have been installed in all the sale outlets across J&K and the distribution process is fully automated with Aadhaar authentication rate of 93.85% in transactions. He said 6393 of PoS machines are working in an online mode.
Regarding One Nation-One Ration Card (ONORC), Zubair said that till last month 39,125 ONORC transactions were made, taking J&K to 10th position in the country. He said also during this period 13,50,513 portability (Inter-District) transactions were made.
Zubair said that 8,94,891.33 MTs of food-grains were distributed in 7 Phases spanning April 2020 to December 2022 under Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY, besides the distribution made under NFSA and Non-NFSA to eligible beneficiaries.
Commissioner Secretary said various initiatives have been taken to transform FPSs. These include signing of MoU between the Department of FCS&CA, J&K and CSC e-Governance Services India Ltd to leverage ePoS devices to deliver CSC services and a hike in FPS Commission has also been ordered.
He said proper implementation of Supply Chain Management has remained the area of focus and the Department has been able to achieve implementation of 98% of SCM, despite difficult terrains, internet issues, peculiar situation, lack of requisite IT infrastructure & electricity issues.
Commissioner Secretary said that J&K has been following all the reforms based on technology interventions, to make the system transparent, dependable and credible.
Earlier at the beginning of his 2-day visit to J&K, the Union Secretary visited Fair Price Shop at Panchayat Dhok Wazirian in tehsil Nagrota on 2nd April, 2023. He was accompanied by Commissioner Secretary FCS&CA, Director, FCS&CA Jammu, General Manager, FCI and other officials of the Department.
During the visit to PFS, Union Secretary assessed the various technological interventions introduced by the Department in PDS in order to bring transparency in the system and for enhanced beneficiary experience.
Union Secretary carefully checked the method of ration distribution to beneficiaries through Aadhar based Point of Sale (PoS) machines. He interacted with the beneficiaries in detail and also witnessed one person hailing from Bihar receiving ration under ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ Scheme from the Fair Price Shop during the visit.
He also took stock of the various parameters governing Fair Price Shop like infrastructure, quality of foodgrains, rate and scale of food grains, grievance redressal mechanism, and awareness among the beneficiaries about the schemes of the Department.
Union Secretary appreciated the efforts made by the department in transformation of FPS at ground level. He emphasized on significantly enhancing the viability of FPS.