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Maharashtra government sets up new commission to monitor the public distribution system

The new mechanism will consist of a State Food Commission, a call centre, and district-level grievance officers.

mumbai Updated: Dec 22, 2017 00:22 IST
Swapnil Rawal
Swapnil Rawal
Hindustan Times
mumbai,PDS,food security
The 7-member Commission will be set up as directed by the National Food Security Act, 2013 and will monitor the implementation of the Act(HT file photo)

The Maharashtra government has planned to set up a mechanism comprising a State Food Commission, a call centre, and district-level grievance officers in order to monitor the public distribution system (PDS) in the state.

According to a notification issued by the Food, Civil Supply and Consumer Protection Department in April 2017, a seven-member Commission will be set up as directed by the National Food Security Act, 2013 and will monitor the implementation of the Act, which is slated to benefit 7.16 crore people below the poverty line in the state.

The state government is also planning to set up offices for District Governance Redressal Officers to ensure speedy redressal of grievances related to the distribution of food grains and meals. As a part of this system, a call centre and a helpline number will also be launched.

Mahesh Pathak, principal secretary, Food, Civil supply and Consumer Protection department, said, “The State Food Commissions intended to be an overarching body that will give suggestions to ensure the proper implementation of the act.”

The state government has issued a notification of the Maharashtra Food Security Rules and will accept suggestions and criticism till January 15, 2018. The notification states that households with an annual income of Rs44,000 in rural areas and Rs59,000 in urban areas will be eligible to avail the benefits of subsidised food as ‘priority household beneficiaries.’

Regarding the new redressal system, officials said a detailed mechanism is required to provide faster and effective relief to complaints. “If any grievance is not solved through the regular mechanism, people can approach the redressal officer, who will have to act upon the complaint lodged with him within 60 working days,” Pathak said. He added that the state government has already appointed additional district collectors across the state as the District Grievance Redressal Officers.

The complainant can approach the Commission to appeal against the order of the redressal officer within 30 days of receiving the order.

First Published: Dec 22, 2017 00:13 IST