Boostrapping : EAS.02 - Procedure to improve Rationing System
Bootstrapping
Main Page     Feedback? MehtaRahulC@yahoo.com



Proposed administrative procedure - EAS.02
RLPP   to   improve   Public   Distribution   System

Purpose : To reduce nexusproness in Public Distribution System

Pre-requisite reading : RLPP


    Contents
  1. Background
  2. Introduction
  3. Current Administrative Setup
  4. The problems faced by ration card users
  5. Proposed nexusless administrative procedures
  6. Administrative procedure to change shop
  7. Proposed administrative procedure for citizens to expel DSO
  8. Trial by Jury
  9. Draft to create procedure EAS.02
  10. Future improvements in PDS


Background

The purpose is to improve India's administration. How? By reducing nexuses in administration and improving record-keeping in GoI-offices. How? I have proposed several laws --- EAS.02 is one of these proposed laws. The proposed law EAS.02 will improve rationing system.



Introduction

We often praise Britishers for creating Railways and Postal Services. These 3 networks have helped India in many ways. But we seldom praise Britishers for a much more important task they did - creating Public Distribution System (PDS). The PDS network, from procurement from lakhs of farms to retail distribution at lakhs of shops to crores of common men, has done the greatest service for the poor. Perhaps, PDS has done more service to the poorest than rest of the Executive and entire judiciary and all the Legislatures. Without PDS, India would have undergone several food-riots and blood-baths, and India would have perhaps broken down years ago. Today also, crores of poor citizens use PDS for grains, sugar and kerosene.

Today, PDS is plagued with inefficiencies and corruption. Many intellectuals are suggesting that GoI should completely dismantle PDS, and Ministers/officers have already started this process in the name of "targetting". I propose that instead of dismantling PDS, we clean it up --- by reducing corruption in it. How? It turns out that improving PDS is EASIER than printing tickets and the passenger lists. I will explain how using 3 trivial nexusless administrative procedures, corruption in PDS can be reduced and efficiency can be increased.



Current administrative setup

1. The ID for contact : ration card

Today, there is one ration card per family (not one ration card per citizen). The Department of Civil Supply under State Govt issues this ration card. The officer in-charge in most places is local Talati.

2. Distribution of Goods

The Central Governmentís Civil Supply Department does much of the purchases and storage. Then it allocates the goods to the State Governments. Upon allocation, the goods are moved to warehouses owned and maintained by State Governmentís Department of Civil Supply. In general, there is one warehouse per Tahsil (Taluka/Block). The District Collectors and Tahasildars (Mamlatdar) allocate the goods from warehouses to the ration shops. In most districts, District Collector is overloaded with several other duties and so the Minister of Civil Supply often appoints DSO (District Supply Officer), who does most of the Civil Supply related work.



The problems faced by ration card users

Problem 1 :- Shopkeepers give less supplies to ration card holders and make them stand in queues for hours

Today in Ahmedabad (and almost all cities and villages in Gujarat), the shopkeepers give no more than 70% of the kerosene the card holder is supposed to get. Often, this is a net loss of Rs 30 - Rs 40 per family per month. In addition, the shop-keepers deliberately treat the ration card users poorly. Many shopkeepers will serve the customers so slowly that queues keep getting longer and longer. As a result, many tired card users will go away. The shopkeeper can then sell their share of kerosene in the black market for additional profit. The card holders do complain before MLAs/Ministers/judges etc. But these individuals have failed to resolve the problem.

Problem 2 :- Most DSOs do nothing to control the shopkeepers

Likewise, the District Civil Supply Officer, who is appointed by the Minister, is often an extremely corrupt officer. And citizens have no means to punish/replace him except to complaint before the Minister or a judge. In 1 out of 10 cases, citizens do get an honest Supply Officer, in which case he would force the shopkeepers to give full amount of kerosene to the card holders. This means less profit for shopkeepers and lower bribes for other dishonest officers. So sooner or later, the other corrupt officers will harass this honest officers and will also bribe/force the Minister to transfer him to another department.



Proposed nexusless administrative procedures

I will propose 4 new administrative procedures to improve PDS.

  1. The Minister of Civil Supply has to appoint a Registrar for every district.
  2. The citizen can change the shop by visiting Registrarís clerkís office.
  3. The citizen can approve any person for the position of DSO.
  4. If a citizen has complaint against an officer of PDS, he can approach the Grand Jury, who may an appoint a Jury to decide if the officer should be expelled or not. Enacting these procedures need ONLY one legal event : the MLAs have to pass this bill. No allocation of funds and staff is needed. How to get this bills passed? I will describe later. First, allow me to describe these procedures in detail.



Proposed nexusless administrative procedure for a citizen to change shop-keeper

The exact procedure is as follows : (please note how similar it is to railway reservation system)
  1. The citizen will give his ration card to the clerk and a slip (similar to slip in railway reservation) on which the citizen will write name/number of the shop from where he wants to buy his share of rationing goods.

  2. The clerk will charge Rs 2 to Rs 4 from the citizen as Allocation fee.

  3. The clerk will enter card number, citizenís name, shop number etc. The system will print receipts. similar to railway reservation ticket.

  4. The system will print receipts similar to railway reservation ticket. The receipt will have a serial number, date, name and code of the clerk. A sample is shown below.

    
    
    Shop Selection (Fee : Rs 2)
    Dear District Suuply Officer, I advice you to Allocate my ratioing allowance to following shopkeepr - The Citizen. Reciept Number 3245-345-01 Date 28/03/2001 Citizen's Ration Card Number 67897899 Citizenís Name Prakash Mehta Shop keeper's name Shrimali shops Shop keeper's number 08767 Clerkís name, number, sign Suresh Pandya/67-092/S Pandya Citizenís Thumb Print


  5. The shopkeepers will get a statement every month/week showing card holders have joined/left them. A sample is shown below.

    A sample of the list that every shop-keeper will get
    (similar to passengersí namesí list in railway compartment)

    
    Shop Number 23-56-747
    Shop Name - Ganesh Kariana Store, Navsari Rural Taluko, Navsari District
    Number of ration card-holders who have chosen you so far = 765	
    Number of family members in those cards = 3569
    New card holders who selected your shop this month
    
    
    
    
    New card holders who selected your shop this month 
    
    
             Card No      Name          No of Members    Receipt No 
    
     1        1372016      Kalra, Brij M         3            95499
     2        1664672      Amin, Vrijlal         5            84709
     3        2185188      Dhillon, Jay          3            58783
     4        2604239      Mehta, Vimal          4            74022
     5        3644667      Pathak, Surekha       5            62586
     6        4020310      Khan, Akbar           3            14964
    
    
    
    Following card holders have left your shop 
    
             Card No      Name          No of Members    Receipt No 
    
     1          6124705     Parekh, Sudha           2           99653
     2          8141273     Divan, H                4           49508
     3          9002112     Singh, Jasvir           5           62714
     4          9353809     Singh, H                2           56375
    


  6. Physical Allocation of goods as per Allocations (same as today) : Now suppose 1000 ration card holders have selected a particular shop keeper. And the Minister decides to allocate 20 liters of kerosene per ration card that month. Then the District Supply Officer will allocate 20,000 liters of kerosene to that shopkeeper. But later in that month, if 200 card holders walk away to some other shopkeeper and no other card holder selects him, that shopkeeper now has only 800 cards with him. So the Supply Officer will give only 800*20 = 16000 liters of kerosene to that shopkeeper in the next month.

  7. New procedure for opening a Ration Card Shop : An individual can register his shop by paying a monthly fee of Rs 100 to the Registrar.

The procedure by which the citizen can change the shop easily will improve the quality of service that the shop-keepers provide and the theft shop-keepers do drastically will reduce. This will increase the supply of goods that the citizen gets. Thus a citizen can terrorize the shop-keeper by walking away from him.

The "shop-selection" administrative procedure will fix one wheel of PDS - the shop owner. The other wheel is the District Supply Office. Unless citizens have powers to expel the DSO, the DSO has no reason to be afraid of citizens and so he has no incentive to provide proper service to shop-keepers. Unless citizens have powers to expel DSO, DSO has NO reason whatsoever to give up bribes. So it is necessary for citizens to have administrative procedures to expel DSO.



Proposed administrative procedure for citizens to expel DSO

Suppose 1000 citizens have selected a shopkeeper using the "Shop Selection Procedure". And say each cardís Quota is 20 liters for a given month. Thus the shopkeeper needs to obtain 20,000 liters of kerosene from the Supply Departmentís warehouse. It is possible that the DSO, Tahasildars etc. will not deliver any goods till he pays a bribe of Rs 10000 - Rs 20000. If he pays the bribe, the shopkeeper will have only 2 options : raise the price of kerosene or give lesser supply card holders. In any case, the ration card users loose. So to get the full supply of the kerosene etc, it is must for the citizens to have control the Supply Officer as well.

Today the card holder or shopkeeper has only 1 procedure to control/pressurize the DSO and other officers : he can complain before MLAs/Ministers/judges and this procedure is useless.

So I propose a new administrative procedure, which may make a real difference. The exact steps are as follow (please note similarity with the Railway reservation system) :
  1. The citizen will fill out a form/slip with serial numbers and the names of candidates he approves.
  2. The clerk will charge an Approval Filing fee of say Rs 2
  3. The clerk will enter the name, ration card number, serial numbers and names of the candidates in the computer, and the system will print receipts.

    SAMPLE   layout   of   the Reciept
      that   the   citizen   will   get   when   he   registers   his   Approvals

    
    
    Approval For District Supply Officer (Fee : Rs 3)
    Dear Civil Supply Minister, I advice you to appoint any of the below mentioned individuals as DSO. - The Citizen. Reciept Number 3245-345-01 Date 28/03/2001 Citizen's Ration Card Number 67897899 Citizenís Name Prakash Mehta Candidates Approved Candidate Number Name 004 J. Singh 045 Rajesh Shah 078 H. Sawant Clerkís name, number, sign Suresh Pandya/67-092/S Pandya Citizenís Thumb Print


  4. The citizen can Approve another candidates any day he wishes. The citizen can file another form to Withdraw the Approvals without any fee. Thus citizen can recall/cancel the choices he had made earlier. If he wishes to continue his Approval, he NEED NOT visit Registrarís Office again.

    Withdrawing the Approval For Water Guard(Fee : ZERO)
    Dear Civil Supply Minister, I am withdrawing the Approvals for the following candidates - The Citizen. Reciept Number 3245-763-56 Date 30/04/2001 Citizen's Ration Card Number 67897899 Citizenís Name Prakash Mehta Candidates Approved Candidate Number Name 004 J. Singh 078 H. Sawant Clerkís name, number, sign Suresh Pandya/67-092/S Pandya Citizenís Thumb Print


  5. The clerk will send a list showing Approvals that each candidate got to the Minister of Civil Supply and the candidates. A sample is show below.

    Approval Counts for District Supply Officer June 2000
    Candidate Name Singh, J Candidate Number 1205 Citizens who had approved you last month 245,673 Citizens Approved you this month 10 Citizens who withdrew their Approval 5 No. of citizens who have approved you 245,678 out of 546,676 (44.94%)
    
    
       List of new Approvals (Sorted by Ration Card Number)
    
           Card No        Name             Message No 
     1     2158112      Divan, Sudhir         21851 
     2     2350222      Mehta, Vimal          58783 
     3     2885461      Jain, Bimal           40203 
     4     3156068      Patel, Suhas          13720 
     5     3737486      Khan, Suhel           42995 
     6     4040625      Sai, Samir            36446 
     7     4514433      Shankar, P            56375 
     8     4759652      Khan, Suleman         57412 
     9     5176682      Seth, Vineet          99653 
    10     5311764      Singh, Jasvinder      19675 
    
        Number of new Approvals = 10
    
    
    
    List of Citizens who took away their Approvals 
    (Sorted by Ration Card Number)
    
           Card No        Name               Message No
     1     4020310      Khan, Akbar            14964
     2     4210275      Holkar, Babu           19675
     3     4633510      Ramesh, P              42995
     4     5637330      Divakar, Sudhir        57412
     5     5652714      Patel, Navinchandra    74898
    
        Number of new Withdrawals  = 5
    


  6. Administrative effect of Approvals : As per the Act, if highest number of card-users and over 25% of ALL card users Approve a perticular candidate, the Minister of Civil Supply will resign or appoint the Approved candidate as new Supply Officer within 2 days.



Trial by Jury

In case a citizen has complaint against any officer in PDS, he may approach District Grand Jurors. If majority of them are convinced that there is a prima facie case, they can call Jurors to decide if the said officer should be expelled or not. I have described the details here . The procedure is superior that existing procedure of filing a complaint before MLAs/Ministers and judges as
  1. Ministers are too few in numbers, and cannot possibly find time to discipline so many officers scattered all over the state.

  2. MLAs are also too few in numbers, and worse, they DO NOT have any powers to expel/transfer officers. All MLA an do is to approach Minister, and we are back to square one --- one Minister cannot manage so many officers.

  3. There is 2-5 courts per Tahsil, and judges do have powers to control the officers. But judges are overloaded with work, and they have dense nexuses with local officers and local lawyers, which makes them useless persons to address grievences of commons.
Whereas the Jurors are nexusless as well as they have time to hear the case. Hence "Trial by Jury" is a superior option.

How will these procedures improve PDS?

Consider a town where there are 10000 families served by 10 shop keepers. Today, the ration card holders have no way to change the shopkeeper. So in most cases, all 10 shop-keepers take advantage of this "monopoly". Also, the supply officer would not give supplies to the shop-keepers till they pay hefty bribes.

The Shop Selection procedure will immediately create a competition between shop-keepers to provide better service. Further, new shop-keepers will also enter into the market. Currently, the shop-keepers only give 15-16 liters of kerosene against the approved Quota of 20 liters. Now since the card holder can change the shop, the shop-keepers will offer more and more. It may or may not reach exact 20 liters, but would certainly come close to 19 - 19.5 liters. This way the card holders will gain about Rs 20 - Rs 40 per family per month.

Now suppose a the Supply Officer asks for a bribe of Rs 2 per liter of kerosene. If the shop-keeper decides to pay the bribe, he will have no option but to give 2-3 liters less kerosene. At the same time, there will be a few Supply Officers in some other districts who are honest and efficient, and so the card holders in their districts will get almost full Share from the shops. Sooner or later, the word will spread about first Supply Officerís corruption as well as second Supply Officerís uprightness. Almost all card-users would Approve the honest officer. NOT BECAUSE CARD HOLDERS HAVE ANY RESPECT FOR AN HONEST OFFICER, BUT BECAUSE THEY HAVE INTENSE HATRED AGAINST A BACK-STABBING OFICER. Most citizens want to hurt the officer who has hurt them. The fee of Rs 5 is too small for the pleasure one gets from ruining a corrupt officerís career.

Thus the Shop Selection procedure will allow the card-users to discipline the shop-keepers and Approval Filing procedure will allow the card-users to teach a lesson to the Supply Officer if and when the need be. This is how the citizens will get the full Quota of their food, kerosene etc.

The "Explusion by Jury" procedure will ensure control over junior officers.

Draft of the act to create procedure EAS.02

To enact EAS over PDS, the citizens would need to pass "EAS-PDS Act" in the Assembly. The draft of the Act is given here.

     It will be wiser for citizens to first enact procedure LM.02 in Assembly, and then use LM.02 to pass this act. To know about procedure LM.02, please click here.



Future improvements in PDS

  1. The ration cards should be made one per INDIVIDUAL rather than one per family. The cards of children below 18 can be used by his mother/father.
  2. The ration card should have photographs, along with biometric details to detect duplicates.


If you have any other question, please mail it to MehtaRahulC@yahoo.com. Thousand thanks in advance.





Next - EAS.03 : Equal Allowance System over waters of rivers, lakes etc