The ‘Inside Districts’ series launched in April was a one-of-its-kind attempt to capture the experiences of district and Block-level officials, panchayat functionaries and frontline workers, on their challenges and best practices. Recently, we went back to some interviewees to understand how their situation has changed. Among them was a District Project Officer (Excise Department) in Bihar.
The interview was originally conducted in Hindi on 24 May 2020, and has been translated.
Q: You mentioned difficulty in arranging ration. Has the situation improved now?
DPO: Yes, sufficient amount of ration is now available. The Public Distribution System (PDS) has enough to provide to all the beneficiaries.
Each eligible household is being provided with 5 kg of rice and wheat, free of cost. The migrant labourers who have completed quarantine are also given the allocated amount once they return to their houses.
Q: What are your tasks now? Are you facing any other challenges?
DPO: I have to ensure the availability of ration in all the blocks and also in the quarantine facilities, supervise the PDS, quarantine the people who are coming from outside and monitor them.
The most challenging part is juggling between multiple roles simultaneously and being held accountable for all of them.
Q: How has your work changed with the lifting up of the lockdown and easing of restrictions? Is your primary focus still on COVID-19 or are you back to routine work?
DPO: My primary focus is still on COVID-19. However, now I have to go to the office to carry out my other tasks also.
DPO (Excise) takes care of collection of various taxes and duties prescribed by the state government on relevant products. In Bihar, they are responsible for inspection, and conducting raids in accordance with the state’s prohibition law banning the sale and purchase of liquor.