Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

wheat wash

the public distribution system (PDS aka ration shops) is under severe scrutiny.

in bengal, people are going hammer and sickle against the system.

in maharashtra (as perhaps in most other states), the wheat import scandal is hitting people below the belt.
NDTV says that majority of the imported australian wheat is rotten.
Almost all the wheat in Malkapur, 80% of the 420 tonnes is imported and full of worms, evidence of the raging national storm over the government's decision to import wheat to buffer our stocks.
NDTV also says that the import price (of 5 lakh tons) is much higher
The import price was Rs 16,000 per tonne while Indian farmers are paid Rs 8,500 a tonne. And even worse, the Centre scrapped a cheaper import deal in May and later struck deals, which cost at least 25 per cent more.
in times of record food production as claimed by the government, to import such large quantities stinks. the Food and Agriculture Organisation statistics for india till 2000 shows a trend which could explain this dichotomy. (we imported only 4000 tons in 2000)
a. wheat production has shown tremendous growth corresponding to a steep fall in imports and steep rise in exports. of course, in the last few years, the growth has been more marginal.
b. export good quality and import poor quality - super recipe for corruption and deprivation of the poor.

even assuming a excess price Rs 5000 per tonne, it works out to Rs 250 crores of public money into someone's pocket. if this is a mind boggling amount, then check this one out from TOI.
In the last three years, Rs 31,585.98 crore worth of wheat and rice meant for the poorest of the poor was siphoned off from the public distribution system.
The North-East is in a class of its own.... Arunachal Pradesh can claim to be a little less corrupt as 96.2% of its PDS wheat gets diverted. Manipur takes the cake as 97.7% of its rice allocation is also siphoned off with Nagaland following close behind at 88.6% of rice being diverted.
ok, ok...can't trust TOI.

so i checked the CAG site and read the civil audit for arunachal pradesh in 2006 - chapter 3 is the performance review, from where i am giving selected audit findings:
As per the information furnished by the Director, Civil Supplies Department, 1,04,845.40 MT of foodgrains were required during the year 2001-02 for distribution to APL/BPL families ... at an average monthly requirement of foodgrains of 8,737.10 MT. But it was seen from the monthly progress report of PDS for the month of August 2001 ... by the Director of Civil Supplies to the State Government for its onward transmission to the GOI that 1,04,716.732 MT foodgrains were shown as distributed ... during the month of August 2001 alone out of 1,45,863.914 MT of foodgrains shown as distributed during the whole year 2001-02. Thus, the exhibition of monthly distribution of foodgrains 1,04,716.732 MT (August 2001) in the State seems fictitious and doubtful.
that the amount released by the FCI to the State Government for making payment to the contractors against re-imbursement of Hill Transport Subsidy increased from Rs.4.30 per kg (2000-01) to Rs.32.78 per kg (2003-04).
Scrutiny of records of the DSO, Lower Subansiri district revealed that four FPS (Fair Price Shop) dealers had lifted 471.39 qunitals .... for distribution to 1866 beneficiaries (1512 BPL - Below Poverty Line, 289 AAY-Antyodaya Anna Yojana and 65 Annapurna Anna Yojana) monthly, but did not issue the same to the beneficiaries. It was also noticed that no ration cards were issued to 728 out of 1512 BPL beneficiaries.
my mind is boggled.

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