Public Hearing on Public Distribution System, Bender, Bolangir

Public Distribution System (PDS) means distribution of essential commodities to a large number of people through Fair Price Shops on a recurring basis in the country. PDS evolved as a major instrument of the Government's economic policy for ensuring availability of food grains to the public at affordable prices as well as for enhancing the food security for the poor. It is an important constituent of the strategy for poverty eradication and is intended to serve as a safety net for the poor. PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State Governments. The Central Government has taken the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains, etc. The responsibility for distributing the same to the consumers through the network of Fair Price Shops (FPSs) rests with the State Governments. The operational responsibilities including allocation within the State, identification of families below poverty line, issue of ration cards, supervision and monitoring the functioning of FPSs rest with the State Governments.  PDS, till 1992, was a general entitlement scheme for all consumers without any specific target. Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was launched in June 1992 in 1775 blocks throughout the country.  In 1997, it was made targeted with the introduction of below poverty line. Now PDS is available for two categories of beneficiaries like Below Poverty line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL) .  The state wise BPL quota is fixed by the Planning Commission of India on the basis of official poverty line which is adjusted to growth of population in interim. The poverty line is based on Per Capita Daily Income standard Rs 17 for the urban and Rs 12 for the rural (As fixed in the year of 1993-1994).

2. PDS in Orissa

PDS in Orissa work through a well organized network of different agencies, like Dept. of Food Supply and Consumer welfare, State Civil Supply Corporation, Food Corporation of India,  District Administration, Store Agent, Dealers and Gram Panchayat starting from procurement of food to distribution  to the beneficiaries. While the department of Food Supply and Consumer Welfare is the apex body at the state level to decide the policy maters, the State Civil Supply Corporation as well as the Food Corporation of India procures the food grain from the farmers. At the district the district administration deals with distribution through store agent and Panchayat. Responsibility for distribution of food-grain to  the  consumers  vary  from   district  and to district. While Gram Panchayat has been given responsibility to distribute rice in some districts like Bolangir and Nuapara , dealers have been given responsibility  in other districts like Puri, Cuttack etc. In some in accessable pockets like in tribal areas, it is distributed in mobile van.

As per the 1997 survey, the total no of house hold under BPL category in Orissa is 45, 02,809, out of 67, 84,127 no of house hold. It amounts 66.377% of total household.

3.  Entitlements of beneficiaries under TPDS

Since august 2008, Govt. of Orissa is distributing 25 kg of rice @ Rs. 2.00 per kg to all BPL families through out the state. But in KBK region, APL families are entitled to get 25 kg rice @ Rs. 2.00 per kg. per beneficiary. Besides that each APL family is entitled to get  15 kg of wheat per month @ Rs. 7.00 per kg and  four litres of kerosene @ Rs. 9.50  per litres. Besides rice, BPL families are entitled  to get  2 kg of sugar  @  Rs. 13.50 per kg and four litres of kerosene.

4. Supreme Court on PDS

Hearing the writ petition case ( case no. 196/2001)  of PUCL vs Govt. of India , the Supreme Court has  passed  several interim orders  directing  both Central and State Govt.  for transparent, efficient and effective  implementation of  food security programme  including PDS within last eight  years. . Some salient features of  the order with regard  to PDS is as follows.

a. 35kg. of food grain should be given to BPL card holders at subsidized price.
b. A fixed address is not necessary to get a ration card. Even homeless people are entitled to ration cards.

c. People have full rights to copies of the records of any rations shop, within 15 days period after giving a written request and payment of the prescribed fee, to ensure that there is no black marketing.


d. In the event of corruption in TPDS, strong criminal action should be taken under the Essential Commodities Act.
e. Eligible People who are denied the BPL-TPDS card can apply to a designated authority in the state. In case of denial of the card by the designated authority people can apply to an appellate authority in the district, within 30 days of the denial order from designated authority, who shall give the decision as far as practicable within 60 days. Till the appeal is pending, the Appellate Authority may direct that the order under appeal shall not take effect. This means that an aggrieved person may be issued a temporary BPL-TPDS card.
f. In case the aggrieved person feels, he can lodge an FIR against the officials denying him a card.
g. The monthly ration should be provided to the beneficiary in installments.

h. It is the legal duty of all Fair Price Shop owners, to:

·         keep their shops open during the stipulated period

·         charge only the prescribed price

·         give the BPL cards to the card holders, and not keep these in FPS  itself

·          not make false entries in the BPL cards

·          not store or sell the grain in open market

·         not hand over such ration shops to other person/organizations. The license of all shop-owners who do not comply with these provisions should be cancelled.


On dated   8th May'2002, Supreme Court held that

a. Gram Sabhas are entitled to conduct a social audit into all food/employment schemes and to report all instances of misuse of funds to the respective implementing authorities who shall on receipt of such complaints, investigate and take appropriate action  in accordance with law.


b. Gram Sabhas are  empowered  to monitor  the implementation of  the various scheme  and have access  to relevant  information  relating to , inter alia, section  of beneficiaries  and the disbursement of benefits. The Gram Sabhas  can raise  their grievances  in the matter  set out  above and the redressal  of the grievances  shall be done  accordingly.


c. On  a complaint  being made to the Chief Executive Officer of the  Zilla Panchayat/ Collector regarding non-compliance of the order of this court, the concerned CEO/ Collector shall record  the salient features  of the complaint  in a register maintained  for this purpose , acknowledge  receipt  of the complaint  and forthwith secure  compliance with this Court's order.


d. The responsibility for implementation of the order of this court shall be that of the CEO/Collector. The Chief Secretary will ensure compliance with the order of this court.


5. Why Public Hearing 

Proper implementation of any programme and scheme depends the involvement and participation of the people at grass-root level.  It also requires constant monitoring of the community. Public Hearing is a tool and being used as open platform to air the grievances of the poor and marginalized, debate and discuss the problem of the people. It is also a platform where the victims, the suffered, the suppressed and exploited and the person responsible for suffering of the people, the officials, media, and intelligentsia come together and share their views about  the problem and possible solution.


Keeping it in view, since 2002, "The Humanity" has been engaged in organising mass mobilization and series of public hearings for effective implementation of food security programme in the state in general and Bolangir district in particular. . The organization has also conducted series of training to sensitise the Panchayat representatives, volunteers about food security schemes and Supreme Court judgment in this regard. The organization has also published booklets, pamphlets, posters on this issue as part of mass awareness programme. A band of volunteers has been developed in the district to independently monitor the implementation of food security programme.  During the campaign, the organization has taken a lot of issues relating to irregularities, corruption and mismanagement of PDS in Bolangir district starting from making complaint to filling case in High Court. 


6. Public Hearing on PDS

A public Hearing on PDS was organized at Bender Gram Panchayat under Khaprakhol Block of Bolangir district on 17.12.09. 250 people including Ward members, BPL and APL beneficiaries, NGOs, Journalists, women SHG members had participated in the programme. This hearing  was organized  by a Janasunwai Manch ( Committee of the people for Public Hearing), Bender and technical  guidance was given  by local NGO called "The Humanity". Mr.             , local volunteer  had  coordinated the programme.  Though all Block level officials like Block Development Officer, Khaprakhol, Supply Inspector, were invited to the meeting, nobody turned up. However, Mr. Hiradhar Majhi, Naib Sarapanch, Mrs. Sushila Majhi, Samiti Member, Ward members, Mr. Prahallad Padhi, Press Reporter Naxatra TV, Mr. Dusmant Pattnaik, Social Activist, Mr. Pradeep Pradhan, The Humanity, Mr. Siris Khamari, Press Reporter, Doordarshan  were present in the meeting.


The objective of the public hearing was as follows:

a. To provide a platform to the people to speak the problems confronted by them  in course of accessing the benefits from Public Distribution System   implemented by the Govt. and  to know how PDS has  ensured  food security of the poor and deprived section of society.

b. To sensitise the people  about their entitlements  in PDS

c. To find out collective solution to address the issues relating to implementation of PDS.

d. To sensitise both officials in Government, media and Panchayat Raj representatives about the issues.


Status of PDS and   allotment of different items to the beneficiaries in Bender  GP  as per information  received from Gram Panchayat.


Total No. of  villages


Total Population


Total Family


Total beneficiaries  covered under PDS


Total BPL Families


Total APL Families


Allotment of Rice given to  per BPL families  per month

25 kg @ Rs.2/- per kg

Allotment of kerosene given to  per BPL families  per month

4 litrers @ Rs 9.30  per litre

Allotment of Sugar given to  per BPL families  per month

2 kg @ Rs. 13.50 per kg

Allotment of Rice given to  per APL families  per month

25 kg @ Rs.2/- per kg

Allotment of wheat given to  per APL families  per month

15 kg @ Rs. 7.00 per kg

Allotment of kerosene given to  per APL families  per month

4 litrers @ Rs 9.30  per litre


Prior to Public  Hearing, a survey was conducted to understand the accessibility of the beneficiaries to PDS items within the six months (from June to November'09). Total no. of 176 families were interviewed and their response was documented. At the outset, Mr. Karunakar Bhoi, local volunteer  presented the report of the findings of the survey in the meeting. Then the people testified malpractice in PDS and shared their  experience  in the meeting. 


a. As per Govt.  Guideline, each BPL family is entitled to get 2 kg of sugar per month. But all the people present in the meeting complained that they have not received sugar since several months. Some beneficiaries said that they have received 1 kg or 1.5 kg of sugar in the month of Nuakhai festival (September). However survey was made among 152 families out of total 576 BPL families in the Panchayat.   Within last six months taken for survey, it was found that 152 surveyed families have received just 284 kg of sugar against 1824 kg (12kg per beneficiary within six months).  It means each household has received just 1800 gram of sugar during last 6 months. Total 576 no. of BPL families are entitled to get 6912 kg (69.12 quintals). If it is calculated in context of availability of sugar per surveyed household, then it is found that total BPL families have received 1036.8 kg. It means around around 5875.2 kg sugar has been black-marketed within six months.  Its market price will be Rs. 2, 11, 507. 20 ( at the rate of Rs. 36/- per kg).

( Please see details in Annexture-1)


b. In respect of distribution of kerosene, survey was made covering 175 families (152 BPL and 23 APL). It was found that total surveyed families have received 2002 liters in six months against 4200 litres ( 24 litres per family). It means each family has received just 11.44 litres of kerosene. It is calculated in context of   this figure, then total no. of 728 families of this Panchayat (both BPL and APL) have received 8328.32 litres against 17,472 litres. It means around 9143.68 litres of kerosene has been black-marketed by the dealers. It's market price will be Rs. 1, 82,873.60 ( at the rate of Rs. 20/- per litre). (Please see details in Annexture-1)


C. As per Govt. circular, each APL beneficiary is entitled to get 15 kg of wheat per month at the rate of Rs. 7.00 per kg.    When we started survey, it was found that the APL list is neither available in the office of Gram Panchayat nor Block office. During door to door survey, the people complained that   dealers have distributed wheat on their own wish without following the list. However, it was found from the Panchayat Office that total no. of APL families   are 152. We surveyed only 23 APL cards making personal interview of the beneficiaries.  As we found repetition of the cases, the survey was restricted to only 23 families.  It was found that most of the families have received only 7 kg of wheat. However, it was found that within six months, total no. of surveyed 23 families has received 374 kg against 2070 kg of wheat   they are entitled to get it.   Each family has received just 16.20 kg of wheat against 90 kg within six months.  If we take this figure in context of accessibility of wheat by 152 APL beneficiaries,   they have just received 2462.4 gram against 13,680 kg. It means around 11,202.4 kg has been misappropriated by  the dealers. It's market price will be Rs. 1, 68, 036.00( at the rate of Rs. 15 per kg).


D.  As per Government Instruction, each BPL beneficiary is entitled to get  25 kg of rice per month.  But the beneficiaries complained that  they do receive 20 to 23 kg of rice   from office of Gram Panchayat.  In every  packet containing 50 kg worth of rice,  there is always shortage of  4 to 5 kg of rice  in each packet.



Testimony presented


Shiba Sardhar,  BPL beneficiary


I have not got kerosene 2 litres thrice during last six months. The dealer never supplied 4 litres of kerosene in our Panchayat.  Though I complained, dealer never responded it.



Parameshwar Bariha, BPL beneficiary


I have received 2 litres of kerosene   thrice in the last six months.  BPL and APL beneficiaries are distributed   just 2 litres of kerosene in each month.  Dealers distribute kerosene in two days in a month. If one remains absence in these days, he or she losses kerosene in this month.



Narayan Pradhan, APL  beneficiary


Sugar is not distributed regularly.    During last six months, I have received  1.5 kg of sugar in one month and  2 kg of sugar in another month.



Megharaj Kumvar,  APL  beneficiary


While  taking rice from Panchayat, I requested  to Panchayat executive Officer to give rice in proper measurement.   Because they  always  give 4 to 5 kg shortage of rice  in every month. Panchayat Executive Officer threatened me  to put  behind the bar, if I talked much.  I could not speak anything and left the place. Any complaint invites  harsh talk  from  PEO.



Jayasuddhin Bariha, APL  beneficiary


I have received APL Card.   I have received rice twice   in 2008.  One day, Panchayat Executive Officer came  to my house and said that  you are no more APL Card holder. Your card got cancelled.  I was not provided rice. I complained to BDO, Khaprakhol  about it. He said that he would see it. I am not receiving rice now.



Surya Bag, APL  beneficiary


Sugar is not distributed in our Panchayat. However in the month of September'08, dealer distributed sugar to the beneficiaries.  The day sugar was distributed, my husband was absent.  On return I told him about distribution of sugar. On next day, he went to dealer and Panchayat thrice to get sugar. But dealers said that sugar is finished. 



Debaki Bhoi, APL  beneficiary


She received rice twice  in 2008. Panchayat Executive Officer  withdrew  the card suddenly.  Since last one year, she is not receiving  rice.



d. It was common complaint that each BPL family gets 20 to 23 kg per month against 25 kg fixed by Govt. On this point clarification from Gram Panchayat is that because of shortage of rice in bags, we could not provide 25 kg rice to each beneficiary per month.


Participating in the meeting,  corruption in PDS was  discussed in Panchayat Samiti meeting. I have raised this issue that  rice , wheat and kerosene is not distributed  properly.  But nothing happened. I demanded that   responsibility for distribution of PDS should be  given to the  women SHGs. So that they can manage it properly.


After testimony presentation made by the beneficiaries,  the details of issues  was discussed in the meeting. The following recommendation was unanimously passed for effective implementation of PDS in the  Panchayat.


  • A team will meet BDO, Khaprakhol within five days and discussed about complaints presented in the meeting.
  • District collector will be presented a memorandum   about large scale irregularities, black-marketing of PDS item  in the Panchayat  and demanded  enquiry into the matter and take appropriate legal action  against those  directly or indirectly responsible for it. 
  • Demand will be made for formation of a monitoring committee at GP level to monitor the implementation of PDS and the administration should recognize it.
  • Massive awareness needs to be taken up to sensitise the people about their entitlements in Food security programme in general and PDS in particular.


Report prepared by


Karunakar Bhoi

At- Mahurundi, Post- Khaprakhol

Dist- Bolangir




Details of analysis of Survey made on PDS in the period of six months ( from June to November'09)  in Bhanpur Gram Panchayat of Bolangir district.  Total No. of 122 beneficiaries surveyed



A  BPL family is entitled  to get  kerosene within six months

24 litres

Surveyed  175 BPL/APL families are entitled to get  kerosene  within six months

4200 litres

Actual  quantity of kerosene received by  these 175 surveyed families within six months 

2002 litres

Availability of kerosene per household  during six months

11.44 litres ( approximately)

Total no. of 728 ( both BPL and APL)  beneficiaries deserve to get  quantity of kerosene  within six months

17,472 lires

Total quantity of actual kerosene received by these 728 families within six months

8328.68 litres

Black-marketing of kerosene  within six months  in the Panchayat

9143.32  litres

Market price of  this black-marketed kerosene  ( at the rate of  Rs. 20/- per litre)

Rs. 1,82,873. 60/-



An  APL family is entitled  to get  wheat within six months

90 kg

Surveyed  43 APL families are entitled to get  wheat  within six months

2070 kg

Actual  quantity of wheat received by  these 43 APL surveyed families within six months 

374 kg

Availability of wheat  per household  during six months

16.200 kg

Total no. of 152 beneficiaries deserve to get  quantity of wheat  within six months  ( 152 X 90 kg)

13,680 kg

Total quantity of actual wheat  received by these 152 families within six months

2462.4 kg

Corruption in distribution of  wheat within six months  in the Panchayat

11,202.4 kg

Market price of  this black-marketed wheat   ( at the rate of  Rs. 15/- per lkg)

Rs. 1,68, 036/-




A  BPL family is entitled  to get  sugar within six months

12 kg

Surveyed  152 BPL families are entitled to get  sugar  within six months

1824  kg (18.24 quintals)

Actual  quantity of sugar  received by  these 152 surveyed families within six months 

284 kg

Availability of sugar  per household  during six months

1800 gram

Total no. of 576 beneficiaries deserve to get quantity of sugar   within six months

6912 kg ( 69.12 quintals)

Total quantity of actual sugar  received by these 576 families within six months

1036.8 kg

Black-marketing of sugar   within six months  in the Panchayat

5875.2 kg ( 58.75 quintals)

Market price of  this black-marketed Sugar  ( at the rate of  Rs. 36/- per litre)

Rs. 2,11,507.20 /-