Yogi brought transparency in PDS to serve 15 crore poor & deprived people of UP

Lucknow, March 21 : One of the great achievements of Yogi Adityanath during his first term as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has been effective and transparent delivery of ration to 15 crore poor and needy people of the state throughout the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which was totally absent during during the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samajwadi Party governments in the past in the state due to involvement of vested interests leading to a series of food scams. What is most remarkable is that from procurement of foodgrains from farmers and making timely payments to them within 72 hours of purchase to constant monitoring of vehicles carrying foodgrains from Food Corporation of India (FCI) depot to block godowns and from godowns to ration shops, the Yogi Government has maintained complete transparency in the Public Distribution System with no room for irregularities of any kind. Awareness of ground realities probably helped CM Yogi in achieving this remarkable feat as he started with revamping the PDS itself with use of technology way back in 2017 when he took charge of the state. The government carried out a phase-wise massive operation for the bio-metric validation of over 34 million ration card holders through Aadhar, officials here on Monday claimed. The operation led to identification and cancellation of around 27 lakh ghost ration cards. Meanwhile, the Yogi Government also issued 33 lakh new cards to the deserving people and also did away with traditional methods of procurement, storage and distribution of ration, which not only benefitted the people at large, but also those farmers who had to wait for months on end to get the price of their crops during previous governments. The PDS system not only in UP but across India has been traditionally plagued with large scale irregularities at different stages of procurement, supply and distribution. There has also been lack of database for farmers leading to irregular and untimely payments to them following procurement. Furthermore, existence of ghost beneficiaries, siphoning of foodgrains during transportation, irregularity in quantity of ration distribution by dealers and untimely arrival of foodgrains and lack of a tracking device have failed the PDS system with a large section of the poor and needy being deprived of it. So, Yogi Government created a comprehensive database of farmers in order to make timely payments within 72 hours of procurement of foodgrains from them through transfer of money to their accounts. Uttar Pradesh is the first state in the country to pay farmers for their produce through automated Public Finance Management System (PFMS) of direct benefit transfer (DBT). End to end supply chain in procurement process has been made online by the department to bring in transparency. Then to stop diversion of foodgrains during transportation, the Government introduced a vehicle tracking system and GPS monitoring, which has made the system even more transparent. The Command Centre set up at the Food Department headquarters in Lucknow has a dedicated team that regularly monitors the transport vehicles right from its movement from Food Corporation of India (FCI) depot to block godowns and from godowns to ration shops and reports suspected behaviour. Due to GPS enabled vehicles, the Food Department was also able to save 25 percent of the transportation cost. Earlier, during previous governments, cases related to diversion of foodgrains were quite common in UP. Subsequently, the Yogi Government equipped the 80,000 rations shops spread over 826 blocks in 75 districts of the state with electronic point of sale machines (ePOS), which validates transactions through Aadhar-enabled bio-metrics in order to ensure delivery of ration to the right beneficiary. There is also an additional validation facility through IRIS software. All these steps of the Yogi Government have helped in ensuring a fool-proof PDS so that the needy and the eligible alone got benefitted from it. No wonder, according to poll pandits, the delivery of ration to the poor and deprived people during the critical times of Covid has played key role in ensuring the grand victory of the BJP and its alliance partners in the UP assembly elections, officials said. Besides, the Yogi Government has not only provided ration twice a month but also added refined oil, pulses and salt to the list of food items to be distributed to the people, which is in itself a major move so far as bringing relief to the people is concerned. Notably, there are around 1,30,07,969 Antyodaya and 13,41,77, 983 Priority Household card holders in UP. MB SY 1616

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