The Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department previously known as Food and Civil Supplies Department is one of the oldest Department in the State entrusted with the responsibility of implementing one of the prime social sector programme of providing “ Food Security” to one and all in general and to the vulnerable sections of the Society in particular by way of providing foodgrains like rice, wheat, and Atta and other essential commodities like Sugar, K.oil and Petroleum Products besides, protecting the consumer rights.
The Department of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution has been performing the following prime functions:
The public Distribution System envisages the system of management of food economy and distribution of foodgrains at affordable prices.
The PDS is although supplement in nature has almost all along helped to ensure availability of un-interrupted supplies of foodgrains in equitable basis at affordable prices not only giving relief to the consumer masses but also exercising stabilizing influence upon the prices of these goods. The PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of Central and State Government. The Central Government through FCI has the responsibility for procurement, Storage, Transportation and bulk allocation of foodgrains, the State Government has the responsibility of making allocation within the State, identification of families, issue of ration cards and distribution of foodgrains to the ration families.
The PDS has evolved country wide in 1960 to meet the critical food shortages in
urban areas, later on extending to tribal blocks and areas of high incidence of
poverty in 1970’s and 1980’s till June 1992 When a general entitlement scheme
for all consumers without any specific target was launched in the shape of
Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS).
In J&K State, the TPDS is being implemented since the year 1997 as elsewhere in the country and the foodgrains are allocated to the State at a scale of 35 Kg per family per month on the basis of projected population of the State as on 1.3.2000 which has been estimated by the Registrar General of India at 99.45 lac comprising of 18.02 lac families at an average family size of 5.52 persons per family.
The District -wise /category-wise number of RTs as per census of 2001 is as under:-
The Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department (CA&PD) has a network of 6013 Sale Centres/Fair Price Shops run by the Government and Private Dealers through which foodgrains and sugar is supplied to the people at their doorsteps. Under PDS 12.23 lac families of APL category and 7.36 lac families living below poverty line are provided 35 Kgs food grains ( Rice/Wheat) per family per month at the subsidized rates.
BELOW POVERTY LINE ( BPL)
There are 7.36 Lac Below Poverty Line ( BPL) families in the State including 2.56 lac Antyodaya Anna Yojna ( AAY) families. While identifying the BPL families the thrust is to include the really poor and vulnerable sections of the society such as landless agriculture labours, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsman such as porters, tappers, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters etc. in the rural arrears and slum dwellers and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like potters, rickshaw-pullers, cart-pullers, fruit and flower sellers on the pavement etc in urban areas. The Gram -Panchayats and Gram -Sabah’s are also involved in the identification of eligible families.
ANTYODAYA ANNA YOJNA (AAY)
Like other parts of the country, Department of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution in J&K is implementing AAY Scheme with effect from April, 2001 in order to ameliorate the plight of the poor/weaker sections of this State. Under this Scheme, 2,56000 families ( poorest of poor amongst the BPL families) have been identified who are being provided food grains at much more subsidized rates at a uniform scale of 35 Kgs per family per month is given. 8960 MTs of food grains is being provided and distributed among these deserving families.
Further, the CAPD Department is also implementing Annapurna Scheme in the State with effect from 1.4.2001 to give coverage to such senior citizens, who are destitute having no source of income, above the age of 65 years and not covered under National Old Age Pension Scheme. Under the Scheme 10 Kgs of foodgrains per head per month is provided to 10220 Souls free of cost.
The sale rate and the scale of food grains under different categories is as under:-
The Jammu and Kashmir State is receiving the following
foodgrains every month as per the projected population as on 1.3.2000.
The population of the State as per the 2001 Census was 101.44 lac i.e. about one lac more than the population estimated as on 1.3.2000. The food grains allocated to the State are therefore, not even adequate to meet the requirement of the 2001 census population of the State. As per the provisional figures of 2011 Census the population of the State is estimated to be 125.49 lac ( about 22.73 lac families). If the entire current population is to be fed through PDS. The State is short of rations by about 16488 MTs every month. As the number of BPL/AAY families is fixed and determined as per the poverty estimates and norms laid down by the Planning Commission , we are receiving foodgrains from the Government of India as per our requirement for these categories in full. However, there shortfall in the APL category even as per the Census population of year 2001. For APL population of 12.23 lac as per 2001 census the State requires about 42805 MTs of foodgrains every month but we are being allocated only 37,310 MTs of foodgrains. There is thus a monthly shortfall of about 5500 MTs for the APL category.
Notwithstanding the constraints of financial resources, the State Government has from time to time been supplementing the allocations received from Government of India by procuring additional rations and distributing them through the PDS. To meet the shortfall, the State Government lifted 1.05 lacs MTs of foodgrains @ 35,000 MTs per month from January to March 2010 under Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) involving a subsidy element of Rs. 69.00 crore ad subsequently in the month of August- October the State Government lifted special Adhoc allocation of 30634 MTs to supplement PDS rations received from the Central Government for APL families . The last intervention by the State Government enabled the CAPD Department to provide additional ration to the rationees in the months of Sept, and Oct, 2010.
The State Government has also sanctioned the lifting of two special Adhoc /additional allocations of 28220 MTs each sanctioned by the Government of India on 7th Sept, 2010 and 6th Jan, 2011 respectively for BPL families and 23,139 MTs for APL families to be distributed over a period of 6 months with effect from March 2011. This will enable the Department to distributed rations at the scale of 40 Kg per month per family to BPL and AAY families in the next six months and help to achieve the scale of 35 kg per month per family in case of APL category.
The 2011 census is currently in progress. It is expected that the Government of India will take a decision to provide rations as per 2011 census population after the Census operations are completed. New ration cards will also be issued once the Government of India decided to issue rations as per census population 2011. Enactment of Food Security Act is also under consideration at the highest level in the Government of India. The enactment is also expected to provide food security to all persons in the country particularly those who economically and socially backward.
The CAPD Department is striving hard to
supply rations to the satisfaction of the public even in difficult circumstances
and ensured delivery of rations in the Kashmir Valley during the summer of 2010
in spite of prolonged hartals, curfew, etc.
The Department of CAPD is continuously taking effective steps to protect the interest of consumers in the State by strictly enforcing the State/central Laws, and organising consumer awareness programmes. The Department has established consumer courts in the State. The State Consumer Disputes Redressal commission at the State level and two Divisional consumer fora in Jammu and Kashmir Divisions. The State Commission is headed by its President who is a retired judge of the Hon’ble High Court. The Divisional Fora are headed by in-service District and Session Judges. All three Fora are fully constituted. . The Government has also approved for setting up of 8 District Foras, 4 each in Jammu and Kashmir Divisions. The requisite staff for the District fora has also been sanctioned and posts referred to the SSRB for making recruitment. Steps are being taken to make the District fora functional as early as possible.
LEGAL METROLOGY DEPARTMENT
The Department earlier known as Weights and Measures Department is mainly responsible for enforcement of Metric System i.e. MKS( Meter, Kilogram, second) replacing the outdated FPS ( Foot pound and second), to bring uniformity in respect of Weights and Measures in trade and commerce and regulate sale of goods in package form with MRP, packaging Date, Net Weight, Name of the Manufacturer/ importer etc distinctly indicated thereon. The J&K Consumer Protection Act, has been amended, empowering the officers of Legal and Metrology Department to institute cases in consumer courts on behalf of aggrieved consumers. The Department creates awareness among consumers regarding their rights and receives complaints against unfair trade practices for appropriate action against the defaulters.
Regulation of supplies, LPG and other Petroleum Products
Various Oil Companies are providing services to the public of the State by supplying K.Oil and LPG through their own network of distributors and retailers. The State is allocated about 7000 KL of K.Oil on monthly basis which is allotted by the Central Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. The CAPD and Legal Metrology Departments are the regulatory authorities and frequently make inspections both at the level of LPG filling Station, stockiests, retailers of K.Oil outlets and LPG.
The prices of specified essential commodities are fixed by the CAPD Department in the cities of Jammu and Srinagar in consultation with the representatives of concerned trade, representatives of concerned Govt. Department and the consumer protection organisations while deliberating upon the issue factors like input costs, wholesale prices, distribution expenses and profit margin of the wholesaler/retailers are taken into account and only then the prices are fixed. To ensure adherence to the notified prices checking squads are in position.
In the districts this responsibility is discharged by the concerned Deputy Commissioner, who are the District Controllers.
The Act also provides for establishment of State and District Consumer Protection Councils. These Councils are duly constituted. The State Consumer Protection Council stands constituted under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Minister for CAPD.
The District Consumer Protection
Councils ( DCPCs) have been set up in each district under the chairmanship of
Deputy Commissioner in accordance with the provision of consumer Protection Act
with the objective to promote and protect the rights of consumers.
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