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Great grand-mother of all scams

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Governance

The poll-eve race among political parties to promise foodgrains at cheap rates to poor people, when implemented, is counter-productive, warns the Justice D P Wadhwa Committee in its report submitted to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
    
Set up by Supreme Court in 2006 for a reality check on health of the working of the public distribution system, the report said: "PDS system is inefficient and corrupt. There is an unholy nexus between the transporters, fair price shop owners and officials of the department of food and civil supplies."
    
What appeared cogent to the political scenario is its remark about promises to provide Rs 2 or Rs 3 per kg of foodgrain (read rice) by parties to woo voters. Citing the Karnataka decision of providing rice at Rs 3 per kg to below poverty line families, the Committee report said:"This has led to a mad rush among people for categorisation under BPL". These political decisions must be properly implemented and monitored so that only the needy, who actually fall under the BPL category, get the scheme’s benefit, it said.
    
One of the reasons for the failure of PDS has been wrong identification of beneficiaries, the Wadhwa Committee said and recommended a realistic definition of BPL, which it said, has to be different for rural and urban areas. For rural areas, the notified daily wage of an unskilled labour could be the bench mark for defining BPL, it suggested.
    
Moreover, it advocated abolition of the APL ration cards. Most of the foodgrain pilferage and diversion takes place in the name of allotment of ration to the APL category, it said.

For the full text, click on:
http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/ml.asp?Ref=VE9JQkcvMjAwOS8wMy8yNiNBcjAxMTAw&Mode=HTML&Locale=english-skin-custom

With even the likes of Medha Patkar critical of the system, perhaps the only ones who would be opposed to it's being dismantled would now be just the racketeers and a few pseudo-socialists. Isn't it a crying shame that the country continues to allow as massive a loot as an annual Rs 10,000 crores by this lot?

It is time the civil society brought on concerted pressure to dismantle this rotten system in its entirety.

Check also:  http://praja.in/bangalore/blog/murali772/2008/08/17/rs-8830-mn-bribe-paid-just-bpl-households-last-year,  and http://bangalore.praja.in/discuss/forums/2009/03/81-below-poverty-line-state

Muralidhar Rao

 

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