Day 44 – Q 3. How can revamping the PDS in India ensure food security? What measures should be taken in this direction? Suggest.
3. How can revamping the PDS in India ensure food security? What measures should be taken in this direction? Suggest.
भारत में पीडीएस को पुनर्जीवित करने से खाद्य सुरक्षा कैसे सुनिश्चित हो सकती है? इस दिशा में क्या उपाय किए जाने चाहिए? सुझाव दें।
The Public Distribution System contributes significantly in the provision of food security. Public Distribution System in the country enables the supply of food grains to the poor at a subsidized price. It also helps to control open – market prices for commodities that are distributed through the system.
Issues associated with PDS
1)Identification of Beneficiaries: Studies have shown that targeting mechanisms such as TPDS are prone to large inclusion and exclusion errors.
2)Rising Food Subsidy: The cost of handling food grains (MSP and other costs) has increased due to rising costs of production and increasing costs for handling and distributing food grains.14 The cost of producing rice and wheat has gone up primarily due to sharply rising input costs such as labour and energy costs, including fertilisers.
3)Leakage of Food grains:
There is high degree of leakage in PDS scheme at ration shops and during transportation of food grains.
Revamping PDS would ensure that
- Coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and upto 50% of the urban population for receiving food grains (rice, wheat & coarse grains) at highly subsidized rates i.e. Rs. 3/2/1 per kg respectively.
- Use of technology will ensure the inclusion and exclusion errors are made less.
- Can ensure that poor are not only food secure but nutrition secure which in turn will help India achieve SDG goals.
Measures for improving and revamping PDS:
1) Ensure community participation along with use of technology: Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Gujarat have intensified reforms in PDS using latest technology and ensuring community participation—they have taken steps such as computerisation of offtake of grains, recording of procurement, storage and distribution, installation of electronic point of sale machines in fair price shops, and regular monitoring at every stage. The digitisation of beneficiaries’ database and verification of their identities through Aadhaar have resulted in scraping of over 23 million fake ration cards and savings of Rs 14,000 crore of annual food subsidy. This approach can be extended now to Pan India.
2)Density of fair price shops need to be increased: Efforts need to be made to open shops in remote location.
3)Minimise wastage loss: Continued research and improvements in logistics throughout the distribution chain is imperative.
5)Diversification of food choices: Bio fortified food, if distributed, can help in addressing recalcitrant micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamin A and anaemia. States can provide necessary nutrients such as pulses and millets to women along with grains and possibly promote dietary diversification as per the culture, tastes and preferences of people-this will also ensure the success of NNM mission
6)Universal PDS which ensures food grains at subsidised price like in state of Tamilnadu can also ensure reduction in Ghost beneficiaries .
7)Doorstep delivery as implemented by Delhi government can be extended in extremely backward districts which will ensure that no death occurs due to malnutrition
8)Other alternatives like cash coupons and food coupons can also be explored .
9)Recommendation of Shanta Kumar committee need to be implemented
PDS need to be revamped and drawbacks in its implementation removed to ensure food security for all and to help India achieve its SDG goals.
No Best Answer.