PDS inefficient, corrupt: SC panel

The SC-appointed vigilance committee has slammed the PDS in the country for "rampant corruption, black marketing and diversion involving a vicious cartel of bureaucrats, fair price shop owners and middlemen".

Updated: Mar 16, 2010, 23:07 PM IST

New Delhi: A Supreme Court-appointed
committee has described the public distribution system
(PDS) in the country as "inefficient and corrupt" plagued by
black marketing and diversion involving a "vicious cartel of
bureaucrats, fair price shop owners and middlemen".

The central vigilance committee headed by former Supreme
Court judge Justice D P Wadhwa in its report to the apex court
said the Rs 28,000-crore subsidy annually spent by the Centre
was being pocketed by vested interests and suggested drastic
action to stem the rot.

"PDS is inefficient and corrupt. There is diversion
and blackmarketing of PDS food grain in largescale. Subsidized
PDS foodgrains do not reach the poor who desperately need
the same. These poor people never get the PDS foodgrains in
proper quantity and quality.

"FPS owner who is aware of bogus/fake ration cards uses
these for black marketing of PDS foodgrains. False entries are
made in the sale register/stock register and the accounts
manipulated and fudged. PDS foodgrain is not given to the
cardholder as per his entitlement in fully quantity and yet he
is made to pay excessive prices than prescribed," Justice
Wadhawa`s report said on Delhi government`s PDS.
A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and K S
Radhakrishnan took on record the report for passing
appropriate orders.

The committee was appointed by the apex court while
dealing with a PIL filed by PUCL in 2001 alleging largescale
corruption and diverion in the country`s PDS system. Since
then, the court has been monitoring the case and passing a
series of directions.

The committee said the PDS system in Rajasthan has
collapsed as political pressure is put on officials for
distribution and the situation was equally pathetic in
Jhharkand, Bihar, Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka and Uttarkhand,
for which which it had given instances.