Supply of poor quality of foodgrains through the Public Distribution System (PDS) have been reported but not of adulteration of foodgrains.
Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is operated under the joint responsibility of Central Government and State/ Union Territory(UT) Governments. The Central Government is responsible for procurement, allocation and transportation of foodgrains upto designated depots of the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
The operational responsibilities for lifting and distribution of the allocated foodgrains within the States/ UTs and supervision over distribution of allocated foodgrains to eligible card holders through Fair Price Shops(FPSs) are of the States/ UTs.
There is a well established mechanism of joint inspection of foodgrains by FCI and State Government authorities before issue from FCI godowns to State Governments to ensure that only good quality foodgrains are issued for distribution under PDS. This information was given by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Prof. K.V. Thomas in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.
In order to ensure that only good quality foodgrains are issued for distribution under TPDS, instructions have been issued to FCI and State Governments as follows:
• Only good quality foodgrains free from insect infestation and conforming to the Standards of Food Safety and Standards Act/Rules (formerly PFA) are to be issued under TPDS.
• Ample opportunities are to be provided to the State Government to check the quality of foodgrains prior to lifting the foodgrain stocks from FCI godowns.
• Samples of foodgrains are to be collected and sealed from the stocks of foodgrains to be issued under the TPDS jointly by FCI and State Food & Civil Supplies Department for display in Fair Price Shops (FPSs) for the benefit of consumers. FPS dealers are to maintain a complaint register to enable the consumers to lodge their complaints, in case the quality of the foodgrains issued is not proper.
• An officer not below the rank of Inspector is to be deputed from State Government to take the delivery of foodgrain stocks from FCI godowns.
• Regular inspection to check the quality of foodgrains is to be carried out by the officers of State Government and surprise checks are carried out by the officers of Quality Control Cell of the Ministry.
• It is the responsibility of the concerned State Government/ UT Administration to ensure that during transportation and storage at different stages in the distribution chain, the foodgrains retain the required quality specifications.
• The State Government, where the decentralized procurement is in operation, should ensure that the quality of foodgrains issued under TPDS and other welfare schemes meet the desired standards under the Food Safety and Standards Act.