Enabling the “transparent” distribution of food grains via ePOS devices: Ministry of Food in the Government of Delhi

Amid the dispute over the home delivery of rations between the Central and Delhi governments, the Union’s Ministry of Consumption, Food and Public Distribution on Friday gave instructions to the government of the State, under section 38 of the National Food Security Act 2013 (NFSA), and asked it to allow “seamless” distribution of food grains through e-PoS devices.

In a communication to the Delhi Secretary-Commissioner (Department of Food and Civilian Supplies), the ministry also asked the Delhi government to send a “compliance” report by the end of the month.

The ministry said Delhi adopted the NFSA as of October 2013, however, compliance with “key provisions / sections” of the law remains outstanding in the Union territory to this day. He highlighted the non-compliance of Articles 12, 28, 29 and 38. Article 12 of the NFSA contains provisions regarding reforms of the targeted public distribution system, including the use of “Aadhaar” and information and communication.

“By not operationalizing e-PoS devices in FPS (for the transparent distribution of food grains), GNCTD is violating article 12 of the law. Reforms under the TPDS are mandated by law to promote transparency and legitimate targeting, ”the ministry said.

“In this regard, this department is continuously pursuing the implementation of ePoS food grain distribution of all Delhi SPFs over the past 3 years. Over 12 letters / DO have been written to GNCTD at all levels of this department. However, food grain distribution in Delhi is still done using old / manual register based mechanisms.

“In addition, this non-compliance also blocks the implementation of the One Nation One (ONORC) ration card for many migrant beneficiaries in the national capital,” the ministry said.

Raising the issue of non-compliance with Article 28 of the NFSA, which deals with social audits on the “operation of fair-price stores”, the ministry said Delhi had no such mechanism in place and that no social audit was in progress. “No response from GNCTD has been received in this regard so far,” the ministry said.

The Center also highlighted the non-establishment of vigilance committees under Article 29 of the NFSA. “The GNCTD has not set up vigilance committees at the level of the SPF, which is the most important level to monitor the implementation of the NFSA at the local level,” the ministry said.

He also mentioned the breach of Article 38, under which he had instructed all states to retain data on NFSA beneficiaries under the listed caste (SC) and the listed tribe (ST). “The Delhi government, in this case, appears to be oblivious to the needs and rights of this vulnerable part of society and to ensure that the benefits mandated by law reach them,” the ministry said.

“Therefore, directions are hereby given under Section 38 of the NFSA that GNCTD shall take steps to immediately fulfill the outstanding obligations of Section 12 of the Act in order to enable transparent distribution of food grains (via ePoS devices) under both NFSA and PM-GKAY to all NFSA. beneficiaries in Delhi, including migrants through the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) plan, ”he said, adding:“ Compliance to this effect could be sent by June 30, 2021. ”

The ministry’s directive comes days after the letter from the Union’s food secretary to Delhi’s chief secretary on the same issue.

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