Public Distribution System by Self Help Groups in Bihar


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This is monthly report of the consultant Manoj Kumar regarding capacitating Village Organisations of SHGs to run PDS in Bihar.

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Public Distribution System by Self Help Groups in Bihar

  1. 1. Ensuring food security through PDS by Village Organizations of SHGs (Gaya, Khagaria, and Purnia) By Manoj Kumar Consultant, PDS-SD Mob. +91-74881-16811 E-mail : Monthly Report (June’2012) Submitted to Smt. Archana Tiwari, SPM - SD In continuation of the assignment to capacitate VOs run and manage PDS effectivelyBihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS) – JEEVIKA Vidyut Bhawan-II, Bailey Road,Patna -800021,
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page1. Agenda points for the month of June’2012 ………………………………… 22. Summary of interactions/activities/works done in June’2012 ……………….. 33. Progress in works as per agenda for the month …………………………44. List of visited Village Organizations ……………………………………55. Contents of hand holding supports …………………………………………….66. Feedbacks from the field ………………………………………………………77. Problem solving ………………………………………………………………..88. Liaising with Govt. Offices/Officials …………………………………………..99. Suggestions and Way forward ………………………………………………….910. Constraints ………………………………………………………………..……1011. Checklist for interaction with VOs and members ……………………………....1112. List of abbreviations ………………………………………………………….....12 1 Manoj Kumar,
  3. 3. 1.0 Agenda points for the month of June’2012 : After discussions in theSPMU in the beginning of the month of June and in subsequent communications following agendapoints were agreed upon for the month :(a.) Meeting officials : (i) Dept. of civil supplies in Patna – current and former officials (ii) Dist. Supply office – current officials (iii) Block supply offices (iv) Bihar State Food Corporation (v) Food Corporation of India (vi) District Collectorate – DM/SDO (vii) Dealers of PDS (viii) JEEVIKA staff(b.) Collecting appropriate govt. orders and other related documents(c.) Visiting Village Organisations and interacting with members(d.) Conducting VOs’ informal training(e.) Knowledge sharing with VOs(f.) Works on process guidelines 2 Manoj Kumar,
  4. 4. 2.0 Summary of interactions/activities/works done in June2012Sr.No. Date Place Persons Activities June 1 & 1 2 SPMU,Patna SPM-SD Feedback and discussions Sojo Mitra, Mob. +9193867-31729, 2 Jun-04 BSFC Patna Understanding the role of BSFC in the PDS Durgesh Nandan,Former Understanding different stages of the PDS Vishweshwaraiya ADM-Supply system 3 Jun-05 Bhavan Mob : +9194310-46535 4 Jun-06 FCI Office Patna SK Mundotiya,AGM Collecting informations,meeting with officials. SP Panda,AGM-distribution Mob: + 91-99559-97110, 5 Jun-07 FCI Office Patna Understanding the role of FCI in the PDS Submitting Mays reports and expense details. 6 Jun-08 SPMU & FCI SPM-SD,OA Collecting documents from FCI 1.Visit to V.Os ( Bachauta,Bhadas,Rampur Alouli,Icharua, Ramgan,Gangore) JEEVIKA staff (CC,AC, 2.Interaction with VO members BPMs,DPM,YPs),DM 3.Training V.Os on various topics ,DSO, 4.Meetiting with DM ,SDO and DSO and SDO(Subhash Chandra taking up issues with them June 09 - ,Mob: +91-94731- 5.Going through all the official documents 7 21 Khagaria & Alouli 91422),MO etc. related with PDS at JEEVIKA office June 22- 8 25 SPMU,Patna SPM-SD Feedback and discussions. Durgesh Nandan,Former 1. Consultation on process guidelines Vishweshwaraiya ADM-Supply 2.Feedback on process guidelines 9 Jun-26 Bhavan Mob : +9194310-46535 3.Understanding value chains of PDS 1.Understanding PDS system in totality in prolonged discussions of more than 4 hours .Discussions to be continued further 2.Essential Commodity Act-1955 Rationing Office Alok Kumar Sinha ,ADSO 3.Bihar Govts orders 10 Jun-27 ,Patna Mob: +91-99734-36909 4.Coupon system 1.Visit to V.Os of Bodhgaya and Barachatti 2.Resolving the issue of conflict in Bhadeya VO with intervention from the police of Barachatti PS. 3.Training V.Os on various topics 4.Meetiting withSDO and DSO and taking up issues with them June 28 - Gaya,Bodhgaya,Dobhi, DSO,Barachatti SI,SD-Mgr, 5.Attending opening up ceremony of Nutrition 11 30 Barachatti and other JEEVIKA staff . centre in Pandhara village of Bodhgaya 3 Manoj Kumar,
  5. 5. 3.0 Progress in works as per agenda for the month (i) Process Guidelines : June was more towards unraveling the complicated system of PDS through interactions with various govt. officials of different departments, collecting relevant informations /documents /orders and organizing them in the course of our efforts to make the entire thing available to members, Jeevika staff and others in simple to understand and easy to use formats. This was felt that it would take time to understand each and every legitimate process .So, the idea of working on finishing the process guidelines was put on hold for the time being. (ii) Knowledge Sharing: The consultant also felt that knowledge sharing has to be started as part of a continuous process. This was more important seeing changes taking place at very fast pace. Accordingly, in every VO visits this was initiated and informal knowledge sharing was done with focus more towards making members understand nuances of process. (iii) Collection of authentic Informations/documents/reading materials : In efforts to collect authentic informations regarding PDS and it’s functioning in Bihar the consultant visited several relevant websites .Major authentic informations were gathered from govt. websites of the dept. of civil supplies, FCI, and dist. headquarters. The original orders of the PDS and Wadhwa Committee’s reports were major findings out of searches through secondary sources.A book on “Bihar Control Orders” by Ramesh Kumar Agrawal and V.K.Malhotra published by Malhotra Brothers was also found in the market.This book is a compendium of all orders with regards to PDS in Bihar. These relevant documents /reports/book as gathered in the month can be summarized as follows : a. Wadhwa Committee Report on PDS in Bihar b. Bihar Control Orders by Ramesh Kumar Agrawal & V.K.Malhotra ,publication of Malhotra Brothers c. PDS Control-2001 d. Bihar Ration Coupon Scheme-2006 e. Bihar Kerosene Coupon Scheme-2006 f. A report on Performance Evaluation of TPDS by the Planning Commission of India -2005 All the above documents are being studied by the consultant to understand basic tenets of thepolicy. To further understand issues in implementation, this month officials (current and former ones) of BiharState Food Corporation (BSFC) , Food Corporation of India (FCI),Dept. of Civil Supplies were alsocontacted and long sessions of discussions were held with them at individual level. 4 Manoj Kumar,
  6. 6. Some of officials who were contacted and involved in discussions are as follows : Institutions Persons and their Learnings details Mr.Satya Prakash  It’s role is to procure grains and store them Panda,  BSFC lifts from FCI on payment for AGM (Distribution), distribution under various schemes Mob. No. +91-99559-  Keeps stock for next 2 months 97110; E-mail :  Allocation of grains is valid for 50 days Food Corporation  FCI godowns are in 31 districts of Bihar of India (FCI)  There are 10 Area Offices (AO) of FCI in Mr. S.K.Mundotiya, Bihar .Area Manager looks after AOs. AGM  Grievances can be addressed to the Mob. +91-99559- concerned AOs 96975  Lifting by BSFC is not done in scheduled way. Mr.Sojo Mitra,GM  BSFC is responsible for release of grains Bihar State Food Mob. +91-93867- upon payment under coupon scheme Corporation 31729  Stock registers and sale registers have to be (BSFC) maintained at PDS level Mr.Durgesh Nandan Former ADM-Supply Mob. +91-94310- 46535  Allotment of PDS to SHGs Mr.Alok Kumar Sinha  Committee to a lot PDS ADSO,Rationing  Different levels of PDS delivery channel Dept. of Civil Office ,Patna  EC act-1955,Bihar govt. coupon orders of Supplies Mob. + 91-99734- 2006 36909 E-mail: aloksinha308@gmail.c om4.0 List of Village Organisations visited and hand-holding supportsprovided with : During the month of June’2012 the maximum efforts were done to visit asmany VOs as could be done and interact with members . Initially this was planned to visit all the threedist. of Gaya, Khagaria,and Purnia .But,as the interaction started with members and issues started to beidentified this was redesigned to spend quality time with members during the interactive meetings andin most of cases meetings lasted more than 4 hours. Also, distance between VOs forced us to getqualitative rather than quantitative. This was rare when 2 VOs could be visited in a day for multiplereasons.In the meetings with members the consultant’s efforts were initially to observe discipline,level of theirunderstanding of PDS,SHGs,and their own roles and responsibilities.Towards the middle of themeetings the consultant would make it interactive and the latter part of the meetings were more aboutknowledge sharing,hand holding support,capacity building, and basic training. 5 Manoj Kumar,
  7. 7. Following is the list of VOs that were touched upon : Sr. No. VOs Village Block Distt. 1 Deepak North Maarar Khagaria Khagaria 2 Bandhan Mehsodi Khagaria Khagaria Rampur 3 Astha Alauli Alauli Khagaria 4 Aadarsh Icharua Alauli Khagaria Nari 5 Shakti Bachauta Khagaria Khagaria 6 Tulsi Bachauta Khagaria Khagaria 7 Sriseeta Mahkar Dobhi Gaya 8 Kamal Bhadeya Barachatti Gaya 9 Annapurna Shekhwada Bodhgaya Gaya 10 Khushi Mankoshi Bodhgaya Gaya5.0 Contents of Hand-holding support During the interaction with VO members the consultant discussed and provided hand holding supportthrough making members aware on various issues, role plays, and basic exercises. (i) Internal communication : This was observed that PDS committee members and office bearers of the VOs are not aware of their own roles and responsibilities.They were found completely unaware what have been written in the minute . So ,whichever VO consultant visited this was emphasized that Book Keeper must read out contents of the minute to members present in the meeting.Members were explained the following :  Importance of knowing roles and responsibilities of different committee members  Purpose of the minute and it’s importance  How to write minute and read it out to members  How to mark attendances of members ? Importance of attendances from legal points of view.  How to put points before govt. officials? (ii) Financial Transactions : Members were educated about financial transactions.Following contents were touched upon in details during interactions with them :  Problems in doing transactions in cash  What’s cheque and draft ? Benefits of doing transactions through these instruments  Explaining members officials’ points of view of resisting to do transactions through cheques and drafts (iii) Delivery channels of PDS: VO’s executive members who were present during consultant’s visit to respective VOs were explained the entire delivery channels of the PDS system right from FCI to VO level. (iv) Programme details : PDS related communications were done to members .This includes :  Coupon related informations – How to get coupons? How to get duplicate coupons? Importance of coupon numbers /bar coding. Significance of 6 Manoj Kumar,
  8. 8.  Ration Cards and different schemes – How to get ration cards from where ? Antyodaya/Annapurna schemes .  Technical aspects of ration/kerosene - volume expansion/contraction in kerosene oil because of rise/fall in temperature thereby resulting in loss when lifted in the afternoon . Weight loss in ration during carriage .Spoilage,Samples of ration etc. (v) FPS Management : VO’s executive committee members were communicated about management of FPS properly .Accordingly, the consultant touched upon the following issues :  Maintenance of book-keeping/accounts keeping  Maintenance of stock registers in the prescribed formats  Display of different notice boards  Display of beneficiaries’ names  Display of samples of ration  Constitution of the vigilance committee  Display of registered holidays6.0 Feedbacks from the field and challenges ahead : The feedback from thefield could be listed down as under: (i) List of Beneficiaries in PDS - Listing of beneficiaries with VOs have not been done properly and as per rules.In most of VOs beneficiaries of the FPS as run under PDS are non-members of VOs. VO’s rules of federating SHGs and PDS rules of preparing list of beneficiaries for an FPS are incongruent with each other which is the main reason for such issues coming up (ii) Non-standardization – There is big issue of standardization in book-keeping, accounts- keeping, inventory management , and distribution of items . Non standardization poses a big threat to VOs’ run PDS as one can see scopes for manipulations. Major challenge in standardizing the system at VOs’ level could be found in it’s costing and cost’s distribution over members as proposed in PDS orders of the govt. (iii) Non-compliances : Compliance norms as per Public Distribution System Orders/Act are not being practised out of ignorance/unawareness. Common non-compliances could be listed as follows :  Not signing coupons by members  Non-maintenanace of coupon registers  Not making entries of coupon no. and ration in cards and registers  Non-verification of coupon with  FPS norms of displaying names of beneficiaries, list of items & their rates,food calendars, 7 Manoj Kumar,
  9. 9.  Non-updation of stock registers as on date of distribution and lifting of ration & kerosene.Updation done on convenient time and date.  Vigilance committee not formed at VO level (on part of govt.) (iv) Non-issue of Ration Cards : In many VOs ,SHG members have not been issued ration cards. The reason of this varies from VO to VO .Some common reasons could be listed on the basis of interaction with members :  Internal politics at village level  Gram Sabha (GS)/Panchayat not showing interest  Unawareness about process  Govt. officials bound to follow long process of taking socio-economic data into account (v) Non-receipt of coupons: VO members in some cases either don’t get coupons or get less no. of coupons. As members don’t know how to lodge complaint against this they just suffer. (vi) Communication issues : There is no proper and direct channel of communication between the block supply office and VOs. A copy of any official letter issued from the BSO is sent to the dealers association ,but, not to VOs. Because of this communication gap members fail to know the exact timing of depositing the amount and lifting items.This is more prominent in Khagaria dist.7.0 Problem Resolving : The consultant in his limited capacity made sincere efforts toresolve issues on the field. However, running PDS by women institutions at the grass root level being anovel and innovative concept ,sustained efforts have to be done at various level over the period of timeparticularly on part of the implementing agency.Below are two most prominent examples of some efforts made to resolve issues : (I) Field issues in Gaya - Towards the end of June and beginning of July the consultant tried to resolve a problem in Bhadeya VO of Barachatti block of Gaya in close association with the Dist. Manager-SD. In Bhadeya ,a villager Mr.Shahnawaz Khan had misbehaved with the president of Kamal VO and damaged the maintenance registers kept inside FPS.In protest of this VO’s members had lodged a formal complaint with the Barachatti police station.The level of tension was very high and members were demotivated to continue the FPS. We interacted with members and among discussing several other things related with PDS we motivated them to continue running FPS and how to deal with such uncalled for situations. Later on we took the police to the village and met with parents of Mr.Shanawaz Khan as symbol of showing solidarity with VO members.The police warned them of dire consequences in case such incidents are repeated.However,we came to learn that someone relative (Mr.P.K.Yadav) of the VOs president Mrs.Taravati Devi is associated with Naxals and there has been a cold war between Shahnawaz and Mrs.Taravati Devis families for long time.I personally understand that the tantrums and outbursts of Mr.Shahnawaz Khan could be rooted in such background of pro-longed animosity of two families.Accordingly,this was suggested to the state office to tread cautiously in this regard. 8 Manoj Kumar,
  10. 10. (II) Formal Communication issues in Khagaria – While perusing various documents of PDS in DPCU we noticed that the formal communications from block supply office is not done with VOs .The communication is done with dist/block dealers association. But, VOs are not part of these associations. Thus, by default there is no formal link of communication with VOs. Because of this VOs often fail to comply with deadlines and members have to make visits to block supply offices to have updates regarding ration/kerosene and deposit of the amount. The consultant brought this in the notice of the SPMU and the DPCU and suggested to make a formal request to the DM/DSO to send a copy of the official communication either to the JEEVIKA office at block/dist. level or VOs directly.8.0 Liaising with Govt. Offices : The consultant visited concerned govt. offices in thedistrict of Gaya and Khagaria ,and took up various PDS issues with officials in efforts to look forresolution of them and smooth running of PDS by women. District Officials/Offices Issues discussed Responses/Assurancces  Vacancies of FPS in  We were informed that for the the dist. last 2 months no allotment has  Allotment of FPS in been done and a new list of Jhikatiya and vacancies have to prepared Kormahwa villages of based on proper delimitation of Bodhgaya. villages.  Correction in the list  DSO will personally look into of beneficiaries. issues of coupons and red cards.. Gaya SDO/DSO  Irregularities in issue of coupons .  We were assured that the supply  Non-availability of office will make proper red cards. correction in beneficiaries’ list  Organising a upon bringing VO-wise list in workshop for VOs in the notice. the month of July.  The DSO agreed to give basic training in the workshop.  Formal  The DM assured us to have a Communication with detailed discussion over various VOs /JEEVIKA issues of PDS and asked for list  Improper listing of of problems to redress them beneficiaries  The DSO also asked to have  Non-issue of coupons discussions separately and asked Khagaria DM/SDO/DSO and ration cards for VO wise list of issues .  Weight/volume loss of  The DSO also asked to hand ration/kerosene him over VO wise list of  Redressal of beneficiaries . complaints9.0 Suggestions and Way Forward: The consultant proposes the work plan as under: (I) Training of VOs - VOs have continuously and regularly to be trained on FPS management,procurement & distribution of ration/kerosene, accounts/books/records-keeping, financial literacy,regulatory compliances, coupons’ management, handling issues of ration cards/coupons, and problemsolving at the field level as well as at the govt. officials level. 9 Manoj Kumar,
  11. 11. Members are also to be trained in ensuring democracies in internal decision making process and everymember has to be involved in it.To ward off inefficiencies /slackness/rent-seeking/chances of misappropriation it is suggested to adoptthe policy of rotation in holding the offices of the FPS/VOs.(II) Establishing a communication network – VOs have to be in proper communication network withthe concerned govt. offices so that members could directly access all kind of updated informations onreal time and could take appropriate decisions accordingly.There has to be feedback mechanism system too under this communication network so that in case ofany issues /problems members could approach the concerned officials directly and get their grievancesredressed.VOs are also to be explained the time to time changes in policies on regular basis. JEEVIKA has toprovide hand holding support in this regard over the period of time.(III ) Liaising with Govt. Offices – As the concept of PDS being run by SHGs is totally novel, liaisingwith concerned govt. offices is the need of the hour.JEEVIKA ,in it’s facilitating role ,has to make sure that there is frequent interactions of members withconcerned govt. officials so that pragmatism could prevail and the mutual mistrust vanishes. Therefore,workshops have to be conducted on regular basis.(IV) Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E ) - There has to be performance parameters at the FPS leveland at the facilitating level for CCs /ACs .For this purpose, a proper monitoring and evaluation systemhas to be designed and put in place . Based on M & E reports corrective steps could be taken on time.This will help in streamlining PDS running by VOs.(V) Developing a robust MIS - It’s very necessary to stay updated on procurement/distribution ofrations/kerosene by VOs on time, coupons/ration cards’ issuance, proper verification/updation ofbeneficiaries and other issues in managing FPS. For this purpose there has to be a relevant MISdeveloped so that desired results are not missed out because of lack of interventions in time.10.0 Constraints : The consultant did experience constraints in his works .These are asfollows :(i) Maintaining co-ordination : The dist. team as well as block team are burdened with host of otherworks under different themes.PDS occupies just a small part in their roles and responsibilities.Additionally, this is the most complicated programme of the govt. where multiple govt. offices/dept.are involved at different levels of the delivery channel. So, it’s very difficult to accord priorities to PDSon part of the DPCU and BPIU particularly when they have multiple tasks in hand. Because of this theconsultant has to struggle to strike co-ordination with the dist./block teams. Without theaccompaniment of someone from the local level ,it’s very difficult for members to interact with thestranger that the consultant is for them at least for the first time.This does impact the pace of VOs visits by the consultant.(ii) Communications – The formal channel of communication (e-mails/letters of guidance/instructions)is very scantly used by SPMU/DPCU/BPIU to communicate with the consultant. The verbalcommunications have limitations of not to be re-produced or referred to in case of 10 Manoj Kumar,
  12. 12. confusions/doubts/clarifications which, thus, leaves many issues on the ground open to explanations asper consultant’s own understanding . This limits the capacities of the consultant to go an extra milewhile interacting with govt. officials and members in course of dealing with field based issues.The consultant does understand that his role is mainly suggestive and hand holding in nature , andexecution/implementation is completely to be done by the JEEVIKA team at the grass root level.(iii) Inter- VOs’ distances – The districts allotted to the consultant are far away from each other. Evenwithin the same district the distance between any two VOs running PDS is hardly less than 20 KMs.This does affect consultant’s capacity to visit VOs and conduct proper meetings to understand issuesthoroughly.(iv) Attendance of VO members – It’s generally difficult to attend all VOs’ meetings on scheduleddates. So, the consultant through the concerned CC/AC convinces members to convene a meeting tointeract with him. However, because of their own pre-scheduled works members come in very lownumber to attend the meeting. This has the potential to skew the findings and affect the resolution ofissues.In some VOs, where the consultant attended their scheduled general meeting this was also found thatattendance was hardly more than 60% with exception at Shekhwada .(V) Non-availability of Govt. Officials – It’s not easy to catch hold of govt. officials in their officesall because of their busy schedules. This does consume time and energy. In some cases ,the consultanthas to return from the govt. offices without meeting with them.In some case this was found that they try to evade . They give us assurances ,but, not supported withactions. This also limits consultant’s capacity to maintain the pace and efficiency.11.0 Checklist for interaction with VOs and members a. VO management :  If the democratic principles are being followed in internal affairs  If communication is two way – (i) from office bearers to members (ii) from JEEVIKA to VO  If the communication is proper – do SHG representatives communicate decisions being taken in the VO’s executive committee meeting to rest of SHG members b. FPS management :  Books/accounts /records keeping .Issue of standardization  Display of boards and other regulatory requirements  Constitution of vigilance committee  Surplus generations c. Awareness :  Roles and responsibilities  Documentations required  Process of getting ration/kerosene  Coupons/ration cards 11 Manoj Kumar,
  13. 13. 12.0 List of Abbreviations : Following abbreviations have been used at appropriatelocation in the report.AC Area Co-ordinatorADM Assistant District MagistrateADSO Assistatnt District Supply OfficerAGM Assistant General ManagerBK Book KeeperBPIU Block Project Implementing Unit (Jeevika)BPM Block Project Manager (Jeevika)BSFC Bihar State Food CorporationBSO Block Supply OfficeCC Community Co-ordinatorCM Community MobiliserDPCU District Project Co-ordinating Unit (Jeevika)DPM District Project Manager (Jeevika)DSO District Supply OfficerFPS Fair Price ShopsGS Gram SabhaJLG Joint Liability GroupM & E Monitoring and EvaluationMIS Management Information SystemMO Marketing OfficerPDS Public Distribution SystemSHG Self Help GroupSPMU State Project Management Unit (Jeevika)VO Village Organization 12 Manoj Kumar,