Chandigarh , March 1
Haryana Food and Supplies Minister, Mr Mahender Pratap Singh today said that about 56 lakh eligible families of the State would be issued Smart Ration Cards under various categories. Haryana has the privilege of introducing a Smart Card project which is a pilot project of the Government of India and has been introduced only in Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh.
The Minister was replying to a calling attention notice submitted by MLA Mr Bharat Bhushan Batra in the ongoing session of Haryana Vidhan Sabha, here today.
Mr Mahender Pratap Singh said that the state Government is committed to streamline the working of the publicdistribution system in the state. The Smart Card project provides a technology solution to the problems of leakage and diversion in the public distribution system. The total project cost is over Rs. 137 crores. The ground work on the project has already been initiated.
In the first phase of the project, four blocks namely Ambala, Sirsa, Sonipat and Gharaunda have been selected on pilot basis. The field camps were organized in these four blocks to capture the fingerprint impressions of all the 10 fingers of all family members above 12 years of age. In addition, iris data of family members above five years of age was also captured for de-duplication. The unique feature of the Smart Card project in Haryana is its integration with Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). Each Smart Card will have a unique I.D. AADHAR number.
Till date 6.40 lakh residents’ data has been digitized, out of which 5.80 lakh residents have been enrolled and 4.32 lakh Unique Identification (UID) numbers have been issued. The required infrastructure has been installed at Haryana State Data Centre and an exclusive Information Technology cell has been made functional at the Headquarters of Food and Supplies Department. Complete rollout of the project is expected to be completed by June 2013.
The smart ration cards will have different color strips for different categories of families (Pink for Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), Yellow for Below Poverty Line and Green for Above Poverty Line). Fingerprint of three authorized members of the family who usually go for drawing essential commodities will be stored in the chip of the card and essential commodities would be issued after electronic authentication of authorized recipient. This will ensure thattransactions happen only in the presence of genuine consumers.
Smart ration cards will be issued after complete biometric de-duplication by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) which will ensure that the menace of bogus or ghost ration cards is removed once for all. In addition, monthly entitlements of essential commodities will also be stored in the chip of smart card. Each Fair Price Shop Owner (FPSO) will be provided a security smart card, which will have monthly entitlements of each family linked with the said FPS. The FPSO will be provided a point of sale (PoS) smart transaction terminal, which will serve as a single integrated device to perform sales transactions. The device will be capable of authenticating the card and finger print of the beneficiary.
He said that during the current year 19 cases have been registered against defaulters and six persons have been arrested . License of 137 defaulters have been cancelled and security amounting to Rs 6.75 lakh has been forfeited.Two licences of Kerosene wholesalers have either been cancelled or suspended.
On the guidelines provided by Government of India the work of identification of beneficiaries such as Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) beneficiaries and other Below Poverty Line beneficiaries is done by Rural Development Department and Urban Local Bodies Department, Haryana, in rural and urban areas respectively. The Central Government also determines the number of BPL and AAY beneficiaries in each state. In the case of Haryana, Government of India recognizes a maximum of 3.02 lakh families as AAY families and 4.86 lakh as other BPL families, total being 7.89 lakh families. However, as per survey conducted by the Rural Development and Urban Local Bodies Departments Haryana, there are 12.97 lakh BPL families in the State.
The Government of India is allocating foodgrains for 7.89 lakh families. Government of Haryana has made provision for providing foodgrains to the left out (a maximum of 5.08 lakh) families also at BPL rates. These families are known as State Below Poverty Line (SBPL) families. A part of foodgrains provided by Government of India for APL families isprovided to SBPL families and this difference is met by the State Government. For this purpose a provision of Rs. 43 crores has been made.
The Department of Food and Supplies has a comprehensive structure at the district, block and grassroots level for lifting and distribution of foodgrains and others essential commodities as per the allocations made by the Government. Confed acts as wholesale nominee in the distribution of essential commodities other than kerosene oil. Oilcompanies appoint wholesale dealers for kerosene oil. Food and Supplies department has setup a network of 9,364 fair price shops, out of which 2,699 are in urban areas and 6,665 in rural areas. Last year the state govt. distributed 5.81 lakh metric tonnes of wheat to various categories like AAY, BPL, state BPL and APL in which subsidy of the order of Rs. 435 crores was given. Out of this subsidy about Rs. 27 crores was provided by the state Government.
The state government has taken various steps for delivery of benefits to actual beneficiaries. Village and Ward Level Vigilance Committees have been constituted to keep a watchful eye on the distribution of essential commodities to the target groups and these are empowered to monitor actual distribution. Gram Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis and ZilaParishads have been empowered to play a decisive role in the implementation of public distribution system, starting from making of ration cards to recommendation of names for the allotment of Depot to supervisory function in the actual distribution. Public distribution system is reviewed in monthly meeting of District Grievance Redressal Committees.Complaints, if any, are sorted out in the presence of all its members. In the year 2011-2012 Food and Supplies Department undertook special drive for checking the Fair Price shops.
Mr Batra had said, in his calling attention notice that crores are given by way of subsidy by Central and State Governments for providing adequate food security in terms of food grains, pulses, oil, sugar, kerosene oil etc. through PDS. Government, administrators, social organizations and policy analysts have repeatedly pointed out the fact of non-availability of these benefits to the poor in PDS on account of its inherent leakages and pilferage at various steps in the distribution hierarchy. He had further requested the Government to make a statement on the floor of the House regarding total number of PDS beneficiaries in the State, quantum of benefits provided through PDS and steps taken to make PDS more effective, transparent and reliable as also to ensure that leakages or pilferages in the system areplugged once for all by use of Information Technology or any other measure.