Thursday, August 23, 2012

NEW GLOBAL INDIAN Magazine in August issue has covered Gharpoch Dhanya Yojana !!



It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain food security in the world with around 850 million people starving worldwide due to extreme poverty. While the world seems to be changing for the better, millions of people hope to see the day when they won’t need to go without food on a regular basis.

INDIAN SCENARIO

1. The Public Distribution System is the largest food subsidy program in India, and perhaps in the world. It reaches out to nearly 10.5 crore households and provides subsidized foodgrains through a network of Fair Price Shops (FPS).

2. In a country like India,where we have the largest network of PDS, a number of difficulties still exist. The Planning Commission’s evaluation of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) has indicated that there is high cost of handling and 58 percent of subsidized foodgrains does not reach the intended families. It has been also observed that up to 36 percent of foodgrains are sold in the black market.

3. Distribution of foodgrains among the poor is less than satisfactory, leading to malnutrition and starvation.

4. India has one of the worst track records globally as far as the commitment to tackle hunger and malnutrition is concerned. The National Family Health Survey in 2006 confirmed that the child malnutrition rate in India is 46 percent: almost double that of sub-Saharan Africa. India ranks 66th among the 88 countries surveyed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in the Global Hunger Index (2008), below Sudan, Nigeria and Cameroon, and slightly above Bangladesh.

Keeping the above facts in mind, an alternative method of periodical one-time distribution of foodgrains, openly before the community, either quarterly, half-yearly or annually, was tried in Nashik district in Maharashtra. This scheme is popularly called ‘Gharpoch Yojana’, the ‘Doorstep Delivery’ or ‘Home Delivery of Foodgrains Scheme.’

As Additional Collector, Nashik, I visited a number of villages where people always had grievances about the PDS. During the course of these deliberations, the need for an alternative that would ensure 100 percent timely distribution of foodgrains took strong roots in my mind. Though on the one hand people were fed up with the Fair Price Shops, they did not want to have cancellations of their licenses owing to age-old ties with the operators. On the other hand, they were ready to pay for the foodgrains in advance if the delivery of the same was guaranteed to them. Thus, the One Time Home Delivery Scheme was conceptualised after a series of deliberations with the poorest tribals of Nashik District. 

I proposed a pilot scheme to the State Government, and in due course, was granted permission to implement it in Nashik district.
NATURE OF SCHEME

According to the scheme, the beneficiaries of PDS will get their quota of foodgrains for three, six and 12 months instead of each month. Thus, grains should be distributed only two to four times a year. Actual need of the consumers is taken into account, and ration card holders asked to pay in advance. The consumers are asked to be ready with the money to pay for the required amount of food grains.On a date pre-decided by the administration, the amount is collected from consumers by the Supply Officer / Village Talathi in advance. This amount collected for the en re village is deposited in the Government Treasury under the proper account head. The place and date for the distribution of foodgrains is fixed and grains are distributed to the ration card holders before the Gramsabha, the village community. Foodgrains are distributed in standardized sacks of 50 kg each. Instead of the prevailing system of distribution through Fair Price Shops (FPS) followed by occasional inspection by Supply Officers, the scheme ensures a transparent distribution in front of the village community.


ADVANTAGES OF THE SCHEME

The scheme, launched at Alangun village in Nashik, has the following advantages.

- Foodgrains are distributed once in three, six months or one year. Therefore, there is no need to distribute foodgrains during the period in between.
- Traditionally, farmers have been storing grains in various types of local storage devices in India. So, storage of foodgrains for six months is not a big problem for the ration card holders.
- Since the program of distribu on of foodgrains takes place before community, malpractices in distribu on are eliminated.
- Once grains are distributed, independent agencies such as NGOs can verify whether the grains are properly utilized.
- Since the scheme reduces expenditure on transport and guarantees 100 percent delivery of foodgrains, this scheme is more sustainable.
- In the exis ng system, foodgrains are transported from tehsil office to village 12 times a year. In the new scheme, the minimum period is three months, and therefore, the transportation is required for maximum 4 times a year. This saves the transport cost significantly.
- The new scheme has become more pro-family because there is complete control of family members over the foodgrains received.
- Government is spending huge funds in tribal areas separately for fighting malnutri on in addition to food subsidy program. The new scheme would reduce malnutrition and undernourishment as well.
- The new scheme expects money to be deposited in advance by actual residents, and therefore, foodgrains would go to the genuine beneficiaries.
- The new scheme has checked organized black marketing of grains because, once the grains reach the consumers, it is very difficult to repurchase them.
- The new scheme will help in increasing the purchasing power of the poor.
- Instead of storing grains in large quantities in Government godowns, this scheme would ensure decentralized storage of foodgrains in thousands of households.



PROGRESS OF THE SCHEME

The doorstep delivery scheme has spread to 5000 villages in 10 districts of Maharashtra.The scheme has been welcomed by tribals of the remote districts of Nandurbar, Dhule and Yavatmal. Recently, the Maharashtra State Cabinet issued orders to implement the scheme throughout the State. The Government of India has also, in principle, approved the advanced allocations of foodgrains to all the states for a period of six months. 

Decentralized storage in millions of houses can make India, the most food-secure country in the world in terms of availability and accessibility of food.

The above-mentioned innovation has been made by Shekhar Gaikwad, Joint Secretary, CMO, Mantralaya, Mumbai.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

घरपोच धान्य योजना दुरदर्शनच्या सह्याद्री वाहिनीवर...

सध्या समाजात अपयशी किंवा वाईट गोष्टीबाबत चर्चा होताना दिसते. ते ऐकून, सध्या कुठेही काहीही सकारात्मक किंवा चांगलं घडतंय की नाही असा प्रश्न सर्वांना पडावा, त्याच दृष्टिकोनातून  दूरदर्शनच्या सह्याद्री वाहिनीवर जनता दरबार ही मालिका दिनांक २० ऑगस्ट २०१२ पासून सुरु होत आहे. 

जनता दरबारमध्ये निरनिराळया सकारात्मक चांगल्या आणि यशस्वी प्रयोगांची दखल घेण्यात असून त्या-त्या प्रयोगांच्या प्रयोगकर्त्यांची ओळख करुन देण्यात आली आहे. प्रयोगामागची प्रेरणा, संकल्पना, अभ्यास, मांडणी, आराखडा, अडीअडचणी, लाभार्थी, मनोगत आणि अंमलबजावणी इ. विविध मुद्दे यामध्ये मांडण्यात आलेले आहेत.

जनता दरबारच्या पहिल्या भागात शेखर गायकवाड, सहसचिव, महाराष्ट्र शासन यांच्या घरपोच धान्य योजनेविषयी संपूर्ण माहिती देण्यात आली आहे. ही योजना सध्या कार्यान्वित झालेली आहे आणि त्यातून शासन, प्रशासन आणि जनता ह्या तीनही घटकांना लाभ मिळत आहेत. सार्वजनिक वितरण व्यवस्थेतल्या गैरव्यवहारांना यातून आळा बसत आहे हे कसं काय शक्य आहे? हे  दूरदर्शनच्या सह्याद्री वाहिनीवर जनता दरबार या मालिकेच्या पहिल्या भागात आपल्याला पहायला मिळेल.

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सोमवार, दिनांक २० ऑगस्ट २०१२ रोजी रात्री १० ते १०.३० वा या कालावधीत हा भाग प्रसारित होईल. तसेच या भागाचे पुन:प्रसारण शुक्रवारी सकाळी ८ ते ८.३० या कालावधीत होणार आहे.

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