* Deadline expires in July, no follow-up action till date
JAMMU, Sept 13: Adopting scornful attitude towards the highest decision making body of the State, Planning, Development and Monitoring Department has failed to implement the directions of the State Cabinet regarding finalization of single Below Poverty Line (BPL) list in consultation with the departments responsible for implementation of BPL related welfare programmes in Jammu and Kashmir. Due to this, glaring shortcomings continue to persist in the separate lists being relied upon by three different departments during the past several years.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department is relying on the Below Poverty Line (BPL) list drafted on the basis of Census 2011 for providing ration to this category of consumers and all such consumers have been placed in the Priority Household (PHH) category following implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Rural Development Department is considering its own BPL list, which was drafted several years back, for providing assistance under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes like Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana (PMAY), Individual Household Latrines (IHL), which is one of the components of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and providing of job cards under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
The Social Welfare Department, which extends financial assistance to the BPL persons under various social security schemes is relying on the BPL list of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department. This practice is going on during the past several years despite the fact that there should be one single list of BPL people for the whole of Jammu and Kashmir for consideration by all the concerned departments.
The necessity of having single list was felt by the Government few months back and accordingly the issue was deliberated upon in a meeting of the State Cabinet held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on June 7, 2017.
After discussion, the Cabinet directed that the BPL list compiled by the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department be reviewed under the aegis of the Planning, Development and Monitoring Department in consultation with the departments of FCS&CA, Power Development, Social Welfare and Rural Development Departments to finalize a single BPL list within a month to be used in connection with all BPL related welfare programmes.
“What to talk of implementing the directions of the Cabinet within the fixed time-frame-by July 7, 2017, the Planning, Development and Monitoring Department has even failed to convene any meeting of all the concerned departments till date”, sources said while disclosing that it was purely the responsibility of Planning Department to invite the Administrative Secretaries of all the concerned departments for follow-up action on the Cabinet decision.
“It is a matter of serious concern that directions of the highest decision making body are being taken so casually”, sources remarked while admitting that present lists being considered by Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Social Welfare and Rural Development Departments are full of grave errors. “There is no similarity vis-à-vis number of families/persons in the BPL lists of FCS&CA and Rural Development Department”, they further informed while holding undue political intervention responsible for glaring mismatch.
It is pertinent to mention here that issue of glaring mismatch in the BPL lists of FCS&CA Department and Rural Development Department is being continuously raised in both the Houses of State Legislature during the past several years but even after the intervention of State Cabinet there is no change in the prevailing situation due to administrative inertia.
“There is a dire need to make single BPL list by keeping political interventions at bay so as to maintain utmost transparency in connection with implementation of all BPL related welfare programmes”, said senior officers of Social Welfare and Rural Development Departments on the condition of anonymity.
A senior officer of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department said that department has initiated steps at its own level so that non-deserving consumers if any are excluded from the BPL list being considered for providing ration.