VMCs empowered to ensure transparency, accountability in the system
JAMMU, JAN 29: Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Affairs and Tribal Affairs Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali has said that Government is committed to involve public in the effective monitoring of PDS to leave no scope for pilferages at any level and ensure transparency in the system.
The Minister said this while chairing a meeting of officers of the Department here today.
He said with the view to ensure transparency, accountability and proper functioning of Public Distribution System, the Vigilance Monitoring Committees were formed in all the 6411 FPS to enhance the public involvement in the Public Distribution System. He said that Government has drafted roles and responsibilities for these VMC members so as to make these bodies more effective and responsive.
The Minister said that VMC will regularly supervise the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013 in their respective areas besides will inform the District Grievance Redressal Officer, in writing , of any violation of the provisions of the Act. He said that members of VMCs have been empowered to conduct the periodic Social Audit on the functioning of the Fair Price Shops/Government sale depots and will regularly hold meetings in the concerned areas in compliance to the direction of the Apex Court i.e 15th August and 26th January every year for Social Audit by involving the General Public.
The Minister said that these VMCs will submit the meeting minutes along with its recommendations to the concerned District Grievance Redressal Officer with the copies for information to the Directorate and Administrative Department for further consideration in light of law/rules. Besides, they will inform the District Grievance Redressal Officer, in writing, of any malpractice or misappropriation of funds found at the time of social audit.
Regarding identification of Target groups, Minister said that VMC will assist the department in identification of target group for Public Distribution system besides will coordinate with the department in reviewing the availability and movement of PDS items and assess the demand of additional PDS ration based on the needs of the concerned areas. He said that these VMCs will assist the concerned dealer in operation and maintenance of the Fair Price Shops, assist in distribution of new ration cards, identification of bogus cards and elimination thereof, assist the dealer in timely distribution of foodgrains among the beneficiaries during winter in snow bounded areas.
The Minister emphasized the officers to raise massive awareness among the public about the Grievance Redressal Mechanism set up by the department under NFSA.
Referring to monitoring of proper storage, lifting and distribution, Minister said that foodgrains in the respective areas will be strictly monitored by these VMCs which can recommend necessary measures required for ensuring availability of adequate PDS items, regular and timely lifting of PDS items, equitable distribution of allotted stocks among the consumers and prevention of any malpractice.