Chapter : 2. Food Security In India

Current Status Of Public Distribution System

1. In the beginning the coverage of PDS was universal with no discrimination between the poor and non poor.
2. In 1992, Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was introduced in 1700 blocks in the country. The target was to provide benefits of PDS to remote and backward areas.
3. From June 1997, in a renewed attempt Targeted Public distribution system (TDPS) was introduced to adopt the principle of targeting the poor in all areas. It was for the first time that a differential price policy was adopted for poor and non poor.
4. In 2000, two special schemes were launched i.e.
Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and the Annapurana scheme (APS) with special target groups of poorest of the poor and indigent senior citizen.
Advantages of Public Distribution System :
1. The PDS has proved to be the most effective instrument of government policy over the years in stabilising prices and making food available to consumers at affordable prices.
2. It has been instrumental in averting widespread hunger and famine by supplying food from surplus region of the country to the deficit ones.
3. In addition, the prices have been under revision in favour of poor house hold in general.
4. The system, including the MSP and procurrent has contributed to an increase in food grain production and provided income security to farmers in certain regions.
Disadvantages of Public Distribution System :
1. Instances of hunger are prevalent despite overflowing granaries.
2. FCI godowns are overflowing with grains.
3. In July 2002, the stock of wheat and rice with FCI was 63 million tones which was much more than the minimum buffer norms of 243 million tones.
4. The decline in stocks continued in the subsequent years.
5. The high level of buffer stocks food grains is very wasteful.
6. The PDS dealers are some times found resorting to malpractices like diverting the grains to open market to get better margin, selling or quality grains at ration shop, irregular opening of the shops.

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