Justice Wadhwa Committee slams the PDS
The Central Vigilance Committee on Public Distribution System (PDS) headed by Justice (rtd) DP Wadhwa has come down heavily on the Public Districution Syetem in its recently submitted report. The committee has ruled that the whole system of procurement and distribution of food grains is built on corruption and its benefits to the poor are low. His prescription: Innovative methods to improve the system. "The whole system has to be totally revamped and modern technology would appear to be the only answer."
The system lacks transparency, accountability, monitoring and enforcing, the report observes Survey is not being conducted regularly and properly, with the result people Above Poverty Line (APL) have been issued Below Poverty Line (BPL) cards and those eligible for BPL cards have been ignored. “Bogus cards are in abundance. Immediate measures are required to reduce the diversion of food grains”.
The Wadhwa Committee has asked that the “delivery systems under the PDS have to be improved so that the real beneficiary gets its due entitlement at fixed price, fixed quantity, fixed time and wholesome quality."
The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India by order dated 12.7.2006 in a Writ Petition constituted a Committee to be headed by Supreme Court judge Justice D P Wadhwa so as to look into the maladies affecting the proper functioning of the Public Distribution System (PDS) and to suggest remedial measures. The SC's direction was initially given for the Government of Delhi to be followed on an all India basis. The Wadhwa Committee submitted its report on Delhi on 21.8.2007. By an order dated 10.1.2008, Hon’ble Court while accepting the report, directed the Committee to do the similar exercise in terms of earlier order for the entire country. Hence the latest report.
The Committee in its report for the Government of Delhi and further reports, now separately submitted, for the states of Jharkhand, Karnataka & Orissa has recommended least human intervention and end-to-end automation and computerization of the complete PDS chain.
According to the report, some of the deficiencies of PDS are:
• Multiple ration cards being issued under a single name
• Faulty system of issue and record keeping
• Pilferage—PDS foodgrains find way to market and all the lot don’t reach the eligible/ needy person
• No biometric identification for the users
• No central monitoring system to track the carriage trucks
• The delivery mechanism has no RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device)
“Corruption pervasive in failed PDS” by J Venkatesan, The Hindu, 17 March, 2010, http://www.hindu.com/2010/03/17/stories/2010031764391400.htm
Entire PDS has collapsed, says SC panel by Dhananjay Mahapatra, The Times of India, 17 March, 2010, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Entire-PDS-has-co
Central Vigilance Committee on Public Distribution System, http://pdscvc.nic.in/
Committee on PDS conducts public hearing in Puducherry, The Hindu, 17 March, 2010, http://www.thehindu.com/2010/03/17/stories/2010031751440300.htm
PDS inefficient, corrupt: SC-appointed panel, 17 March, 2010,
'Public distribution system is a sham' by Abraham Thomas, The Pioneer, 17 March, 2010, http://www.dailypioneer.com/242726/%E2%80%98Public-distrib
SC panel raps PDS for corruption, Deccan Chronicle, 16 March, 2010,