After two and half years since NFSA came into force in July 2013, only 18 States/UTs reported to have started implementation of NFSA. In many of the States/UTs, though the identification of beneficiaries was not fully completed, Ministry allotted them the revised allocation of foodgrains. As many of the States/UTs had not reported status of their preparedness, Ministry extended the timeline for implementation of NFSA thrice (October 2015). The extension of time schedule for implementation of NFSA without the approval of Parliament, as there was no enabling provision in NFSA was irregular.
The identification of beneficiaries was not carried out in a systematic and scientific manner in any of the test checked states. Some states merely re-stamped their old ration cards as NFSA compliant and that too without providing for women empowerment as laid down in NFSA. Identification of beneficiaries was a critical milestone to be achieved in order to omit the errors of inclusion and exclusion. However, what had effectively been adopted in the States was the old system, re-christened for projecting themselves as NFSA compliant. Resultantly, the states had failed to prepare themselves towards fulfilment of the objective of the NFSA to provide food security to all the needy. The intended use of tool of gender empowerment for achieving food security was also largely not met.
The States were largely unprepared for handling the logistics of allocation, movement and storage of foodgrains which was necessary for efficient and successful implementation of the NFSA. The Ministry did not make any preparation with regard to removal of bottlenecks in the movement of foodgrains as it could not ensure preparation and finalisation of the National Foodgrains Movement Plan. Further, the storage capacity with the FCI was insufficient considering the increased allocation for several States/UTs. The storage capacity was not adequate even for three months requirement of foodgrains in the test checked States. The condition of existing storage capacities with the States also needed up gradation and improvement.
Computerization of TPDS operations was at different stages of implementation in the States/UTs. Cases of unavailability of required computer application and hardware were found to be the limiting factors in some of the selected States/UTs. Digitized data of beneficiaries was not uploaded on the States/UTs portal. Doorstep delivery of foodgrains was found to be implemented in Uttar Pradesh on only pilot basis. In Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka, doorstep delivery was being done by FPS dealers themselves and not by the State Governments. With regard to the status on doorstep delivery, the Ministry instituted an online system of monitoring only in September 2015.
The grievance redressal system was constituted in most of the states, albeit not till the last tier. Though, six out of nine selected States/UTs were found to have put in place the grievance redressal mechanism, these were not fully functional. Vigilance committees were found to be constituted only at few districts/blocks in the selected States/UTs. Further, due to non-availability of information on grievance redressal mechanism and vigilance committees, Ministry was not in position to monitor the implementation of the same in all the States/UTs. Monitoring done by the States was not found to be satisfactory as either there were no inspections or less than targeted inspections.