The Public Distribution System in India

Topics: Poverty, Ration stamp, Hunger Pages: 7 (2400 words) Published: September 15, 2013
↑ “A hungry world is a dangerous world. Without food, people have only three options – they riot, emigrate or die. None of these are acceptable” - UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Introduction

1.↑According to the Global Hunger Index (GHI) report of 2012, India ranks 66 out of 88 countries in the hunger index. India is the world’s hunger capital due to the following statistics:-

a) ↑ Hunger remains No 1 cause of death in India
b) ↑1/3rd of the world’s hungry live in India
c) ↑ Over 7000 Indians die of hunger every day and 25 lakh every year d) ↑30% newborn babies have low birth weight and 56% women are anaemic e) ↑ Over 20 crore Indians will sleep hungry tonight

Paradox of the Indian Food System

2.India today grows so much ↑food that it has a bigger grain stockpile than any other country except China. Yet ↑one-fifth of the population are malnourished. It is a myth that ↑hunger is due to the scarcity of food. The problem is that ↑many people are too poor to buy readily available food. Here is where the Public Distribution System (PDS) assumes significance.

Public Distribution System

3.The concept of Public Distribution System in India ↑appeared during 1942 for the first time as a result of shortage of food grains during the World War. Today, India‘s Public Distribution System, ↑comprising of approximately 5 lakh ‘Fair Price Shops', better known as, Ration Shops, and responsible for distributing to more than ↑160 million families commodities worth INR 15,000 crores. The PDS had been initiated by the government as a system for distribution of food grains at affordable prices and management of scarcity. It acts as an important constituent of the strategy for poverty eradication and is intended to serve as a safety net for the poor whose number is more than 33 Crores and are nutritionally at risk. ↑The PDS is currently one of the largest supply chain systems in the world. 4.↑PDS is currently operated as the joint responsibility of the State and the Central Governments. The Central Govt ↑is responsible for procurement, storage, transportation (up to district Headquarters/ regional depots) and bulk allocation of food grains. The state governments ↑are responsible for distributing these food grains to consumers through a network of Fair Price Shops. This responsibility includes identification of families below poverty line (BPL), issue of ration cards and supervision and monitoring of the functioning of the Fair Price Shops. States are also responsible for movement of food grains from the district headquarters to the FPS. ↑At present rice, wheat, kerosene and sugar are being allocated to the states for being distributed under PDS. The ↑PDS is the responsibility of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution while The Food and Civil Supplies Department ↑of the State Government is entrusted with the task of monitoring PDS in the state. Objectives of Public Distribution System (PDS)

5.Since 1951, public distribution of food grains has been retained as a deliberate social policy by India with the following objectives:- (a) ↑Providing food grains and other essential items to vulnerable sections of the society at reasonable (subsidized) prices (b) ↑To put an indirect check on the open market prices of various items 6.↑Access of the poor to food is a priority objective for two reasons: Firstly, if consumption of the poor does ↑not increase there would be serious demand constraints on agriculture. Secondly, the growth of ↑food grain production in the last decade was lower than the increase in population, which resulted in the decline in the purchasing power of the poor and in people’s consumption. This has led to a dangerous situation ↑of huge pile-up inside Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) godowns and widespread incidence of hunger outside. Mechanism of PDS

7.↑The Government of India...
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