Ccl (Cash Credit Limit) for Bpl (Below Poverty Line) and Apl (Above Poverty Line) Population: an Alternative to Universal Pds (Public Distribution System) in India

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International Journal of Politics and Good Governance Volume 1, No. 1.3 Quarter III 2010 ISSN No. 0976 – 1195


Somesh Srivastava
(Associate Professor of Economics, St. John’s College, Agra, India)

The Government of India is making frantic efforts to tackle the food security issue. The country has more than 300 million hungry and malnourished people. On the other hand thousands of tonne food grain is rotting in Government granaries. There is certainly a management problem. There is requisite policy deficit also. The Government is trying hard to address both. Scholars and social activists are suggesting universal public distribution system. But it can complicate the issues further. Cash credit limit accounts facility in banks for above poverty line population (APL) can go a long way in addressing the food security problem of India. The paper dwells on this aspect.

Key Words: Food Security, Public Distribution System in India, Food Security Bill, Poverty INTRODUCTION The government of India is seriously working on the draft of Food Security Bill to fulfill its election promise. Most of the activists are demanding universal public distribution system and they are arguing that this will improve the food security of the nation. There are millions of people who are in the above poverty line, the APL hereinafter, but can slip into below poverty line, the BPL hereinafter, due to numerous reasons like unemployment, illness, accidents or family problems etc. Therefore, it is necessary to address the needs of both the APL and the BPL population. 1

International Journal of Politics and Good Governance Volume 1, No. 1.3 Quarter III 2010 ISSN No. 0976 – 1195

The Government of India is hesitant to implement universal public distribution system, considering the inefficiency and corruption in the existing public distribution system and its own meager financial resources. The dismal record of its various welfare schemes makes it wary of the same.

This paper addresses the food security issues relating to the BPL and APL population. The paper discusses the alternative solution to the universal public distribution system in the form of revolving cash credit limit or CCL for all, along with existing public distribution system (PDS) beneficiaries. It is found that cash credit limit can play a vital role in creating the real time database of a large percentage of Indian population that can lead to targeted food and nutritional security with lesser burden on Indian fiscal system.

The study measured the perceived impact of cash credit limit on food security and nutrition. The findings and recommendations are based on the informal interviews of about 400 adults and a few children of different economic, educational and social backgrounds over a period of eighteen months.

The survey revealed that cash credit limit accounts could have a positive impact on household’s food security. The two main patterns brought out as being a source of mental relief and satisfaction that sufficient food items are stored in household, and providing direct access to food. Direct access to food allows households to consume greater amounts of food and a more diversified diet resulting in richer valuable micronutrients.

FOOD SECURITY AND PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM Food security has been a major developmental objective in India since the beginning of planning. India achieved self-sufficiency in food grains in the 1970s and has sustained it since then.


International Journal of Politics and Good Governance Volume 1, No. 1.3 Quarter III 2010 ISSN No. 0976 – 1195

But the achievement of food grain security at the national level did not trickle down to poor households and the level of chronic food insecurity is still high.

Millions of people in India suffer from...
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