The goal of the Public Distribution System in Tamil Nadu is to ensure food security to all citizens, particularly poor people, by making available essential commodities of good quality at affordable prices every month, through fair price shops which are easily accessible ““.
1. Objectives of the Public Distribution System
- Elimination of chronic hunger and starvation in Tamil Nadu.
- Protecting citizens from ill effects of rise in price of essential commodities.
- Reduction of micro nutrient deficiency through fortification of essential commodities supplied through PDS
- Making available affordable domestic fuels like kerosene.
- Ensuring easy accessibility of Fair Price Shops by cardholders.
- Ensuring affordable prices of essential commodities, especially for the poorest.
- Ensuring availability of essential commodities at the right time every month.
2. Key strategies for effective implementation of Public Distribution System
- Effective handling of complaints given by cardholders.
- Open Part-time shops scheme for villages having difficulty in access to existing Fair Price Shops.
- Timely and controlled movement of essential commodities through route charts and momentary
- Reduction of leakages through system improvements, tightened enforcement and deterrent criminal action.
- Error free and correct allotment and movement of essential commodities to fair price shops through E-Governance.
3. Agencies involved in PDS ("TNPDS")
Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu lays down policy for Public Distribution System in Tamil Nadu and is under the charge of Hon’ble Minister for Food and Consumer Protection and headed by a Secretary to Government. Following Departments are the major stakeholders for PDS in Tamil Nadu (“TNPDS”)
- Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department (CS&CPD): is headed by a Commissioner with 33 district offices and 298 taluk/zonal offices.
- Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC): is responsible for procurement, movement and supply of essential commodities under PDS and is headed by a Managing Director.
- Registry of Cooperative Societies (RCS): is responsible for running FPS through its cooperative societies in all districts and is headed by a Registrar aided by Joint Registrars in each district. (“TNPDS”)
- Civil Supplies C.I.D. is responsible for effective tightened enforcement and deterrent criminal action against persons involved in malpractices like smuggling, black marketing, hoarding, etc.
- Ministry of Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution: in the Government of India is responsible for fixing procurement prices of food grains and allots subsidized food grains to the State Governments under PDS.
- Food Corporation of India: is a Government of India organization that procures rice, wheat and other essential commodities from various states and moves them to states as per Ministry of Food allotment orders under PDS (“TNPDS”)
Universal PDS in Tamilnadu
The State of Tamilnadu follows Universal PDS where classifications such as BPL, APL, do not exist. However, the State has identified AAY and presently have 18,63,185 AAY beneficiaries. Such an initiative was undertaken since poverty being a relative concept, there is no acceptable criteria or methodology for error free enumeration, as indexing method is also not free from defects.
Structure of PDS
The structure of PDS in the state of Tamil Nadu follows a functional pattern involving procurement, storage , distribution of foodgrains on the one hand and distributing the food items to people through an extensive network of Fair Price Shops (FPSs) and monitoring of movement of essential commodities and enforcement actions against infraction of guidelines, procedure and malpractices.
Agencies involved in the PDS operation are
- Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department
- Tamilnadu Civil Supplies Corporation
- Food Corporation of India
- Cooperative societies and
- Women Self-Help groups
While the Civil Supplies & Consumer Protection Department regulates the PDS operation, the Tamilnadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) has the responsibility of procurement and storage of foodgrains and their allocation to FPSs. The monitoring and enforcement functions are carried out by State level inspection teams, District level flying squads and Civil Supplies CID wing. The District Collectors coordinate enforcement work and the Vigilance Cells monitor movement of essential commodities from FCI godowns to TNCSC godowns. Surprise raids are also undertaken and a Grievance Redressal Mechanism also exists.
Presently four types of cards are in use:
Rice Cards, light green in colour, are issued to those who opt to lift rice from the FPS, inter-a-lia, also making them eligible to draw other commodities. As on 28-02-2010, the number of cards in circulation in this category, including AAY cards is 1,84,43,227.
The next category is white cards, entitling the holders to draw 3kg extra sugar over the normal quota as also all other commodities except rice. The number of such card holders, as on 28-02-2010 is 10,67,821.
The third category is No Commodities Card which does not entitle its holders to draw any commodity from the PDS. Such cards serve the purpose of address proof cards. As on 28-02-2010, 62,443 such cards are in circulation.
Taking these categories together, the total number of family cards as on 28-02-2010 works out to 1,96,32,951. The fourth category is Khaki cards given to police personnel up to the level of Inspectors who can draw essential commodities like rice, sugar, wheat, palm oil, toor dhal, urad dhal at 50% of the PDS issue price. Kerosene is made available at PDS rate. As on 28-02-2010, 59,460 khaki cards are in circulation.(“TNPDS”)