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NEW DELHI: The government informed the Lok Sabha, that over 4000 complaints had been received regarding the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) over a period of three years, between 2018 and 2021. The revelation was made in reply to an unstarred question, asked by Shiv Sena MPs Krupal Balaji Tumane and Sanjay Haribhau Jadhav.
The two Shiv Sena MPs asked the government to explain what complaints had been received regarding irregularities/diversion/corruption in the Public Distribution System and what action had been taken by the government as regards these complaints. They also questioned the government over actions being taken to strengthen the PDS and improve the quality of food being distributed under this scheme.
In reply, minister of state for ministry of rural development and consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, informed the House that, the TDPS is operated jointly by Central and state governments. The operational responsibilities, such as identification of beneficiaries/ households under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), issuance of ration cards to them, allocation of foodgrains to all Fair Price Shops (FPSs), distribution to beneficiaries, licensing and monitoring of FPSs, grievance redressal of beneficiaries including irregularities/ diversion/ corruption in TPDS operations, etc. lies with the concerned state/UT government, she said.
The complaints received by the department from individuals, organizations as well as through media reports regarding any irregularities in the functioning of the TPDS are forwarded to the concerned state/UT government for inquiry and appropriate action at their end, said MoS Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.
In 2021 Bihar reported the maximum number of complaints as regards TDPS, with 97 complaints being recorded till June 30, 2021. Meanwhile Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura had received only one complaint, and states like Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh had none, over the same time period. The Union territories, Andaman and Nicobar Island, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry also had no complaints recorded for irregularities in PDS this year.
The department had received the maximum number of complaints on PDS irregularities in 2020, with 2076 complaints being received, the minister informed the House.
As regards actions being taken to check food quality, the minister said that, samples of foodgrains shall be collected and sealed from the stocks of foodgrains to be issued under the TPDS jointly by FCI and state government/UT administration. Regular inspections and checks shall be carried out by the state governments and they must ensure that quality of food grains issued under TPDS should meet the desired standards under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), according to the minister.

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