GUWAHATI, Feb 8 � The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has found that the Food and Civil Supplies Department of the State neither conducted any survey for identification of beneficiaries nor followed the survey conducted by the Panchayat and Rural Development Department in 1998-99, to select the beneficiaries of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) for the Public Distribution System (PDS).
The status as of September 2007, as per the BPL census of 2002, was also not taken into consideration while selecting the beneficiaries for the purpose, said the CAG in its report (No. 7) on the performance of the State�s PDS for the period that ended on March 31, 2010.The eligible families were denied and ineligible families received benefits under the scheme due to old and inaccurate data of identified beneficiaries, the report said.
It has further stated that the consumers were overburdened owing to higher selling price of PDS items. The retail prices of the items were found to be higher by Rs 0.12 to Rs 0.41 per kg for the plain areas and by Rs 0.23 to Rs 0.52 per kg for hill areas compared to the prices approved by the Government, said the report.
In this report, the CAG has also stated that the allocation and lifting of PDS commodities were not done on the basis of actual position of authorised ration card holders. Moreover, it has stated, food items were provided to Above Poverty Line (APL) beneficiaries without ration cards.
The CAG has stated in the said report that implementation of the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the State suffered due to the non-finalisation of the beneficiaries� lists after proper survey to ascertain the actual number of households or beneficiaries.
Further, it has stated that the unauthorised ration cards in the system, short-allocation and lifting of foodgrain, delayed distribution of foodgrain, charging of higher retail price, undue benefit to flour mills etc., are also afflicting the PDS in the State.
There were inadequate or improper storage facilities causing storage loss of foodgrain and affecting the chain and timeliness of distribution and quality of foodgrain.
Considering the distribution of PDS items at the end level, shortallocation and lifting of foodgrain at different levels had the cascading effect of reducing the scale of distribution to the beneficiaries.
The Department (Food and Civil Supplies) failed to optimally utilise financial assistance for construction of storage godowns, purchase of mobile vans and establishment of village grain banks. Quality of foodgrain distributed remained questionable due to absence of quality control mechanism.
Monitoring was lax leading to improper documentation at fair price shops, gaon panchayat samabay samittees, sub-divisional level and absence of mandatory checks by vigilance committee, departmental officers and special area officers, said the CAG in its report.