There were 51,204 fair price shops (FPSs) operating in Maharashtra as on December 31, 2016, the Economic Survey 2016-17 said. The report also says that Maharashtra is the second highest in terms of the number of FPSs in the country, as Uttar Pradesh tops the chart with 78,286 such units. Out of the total 51,204 FPSs in Maharashtra, 5,427 were in tribal areas and 28 were mobile, it said. FPS is opened and operated taking into consideration the convenience of the ration card holders and topography of the area for ensuring availability of food grains even in remote areas. As per the National Food Security Act, while giving licences to FPSs, preference is given to public institutions for effective functioning of the PDS, the report stated. Regular inspections of FPSs are being carried out to keep a check on malpractices and for ensuring the quality of food grain supplied through it. In 2016, the number of inspections carried out was 1,01,585 as against the target of 91,549.
Licences of 327 FPS were cancelled, 492 were suspended and fine of Rs 65.07 lakh was collected, the report said. In addition to this, vigilance committees have been set up at various levels to monitor the distribution of essential commodities through PDS and for ensuring participation of the public in monitoring of PDS. During 2016-17, up to December, the number of vigilance committees set up was 25 at municipal corporation, 144 at municipal council, 31 at district and 288 at taluka level, the survey pointed out. Wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene are major commodities distributed regularly, whereas tur dal is being distributed this year through a network of FPS, the report said. The survey says that out of the total 51,204 FPSs, 29,629 are owned by individuals in general category, 3,660 by scheduled castes, 3,625 by scheduled tribes, 255 by ex-servicemen, 4,145 by women's self help groups, 89 by men's self help groups, 146 by village panchayats, 101 by urban local bodies, 8,176 by co-operatives and 1,378 by others. The total number of ration cards issued till December 2016 was 2.48 crore, out of which about 0.43 crore were BPL card holders and 0.25 crore were Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) card holders, the report said. The number of ration cards cancelled after verification in 2015-16 was 1.05 lakh. During 2016-17, up to December it was 0.97 lakh, it said.
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