Wadhwa Committee recommends no subsidized food to APL
- A Supreme Court-appointed Justice D P Wadhwa Committee has recommended that the above-poverty-line (APL) families should not be given subsidised food grains.
- The panel also recommends that the government agencies should undertake their distribution directly instead of doing so through Fair Price Shops run by private persons to check corruption in PDS.
- The committee in its recommendations to the apex court said the FPS should not be run by private individual and it should be ideally run by state-level corporations, Panchayati Raj Institutions, cooperatives and registered women self-help groups.
- Any loss in the operation of corporation should be compensated by the state by making budgetary provisions. Where no infrastructure like shop or godown exists for operating FPS, it should be built by state/corporation on the lines of Mother Dairy outlet or ATM or Post Office.
- The panel recommended that the corporation should be headed by a senior lAS officer.
- The Committee also suggested that a separate Lok Adalat on lines of Telephone/Electricity Lok Adalats should be set up in every district to resolve PDS-related complaints as a large number of complaints are received from the general public.
- The collector or additional collector of the concerned districts should conduct the Lok Adalat to be associated with the officer heading the district or taluk level legal services authority. Matters raised in Lok Adalats must be decided in a time-bound matter.
- It also said that a post of ombudsman/regulator should be set up to regulate the working of PDS at Central level which may be authorised to issue directions suo motu or on complaints for improvement of the PDS.
- It said a toll free number based on interactive voice response (IVR) and a separate call center should also be established to register the complaints.
- There are over 5 lakh fair price shops in the country which distribute food grains under the PDS.
- Currently, allocation of food grains under PDS is made by the Government of India to states/ Union territories for APL and BPL including Antyodaya Anna Yojana (MY) families.
- PDS is operated jointly by the Central and the State governments.
- The Centre takes the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains.
- The responsibility of distributing the same to the consumers through the network of fair price shops (FPSs) rests with the state Governments.