Despite many flaws that demand reform, India's PDS (Public Distribution System) has stood the test of time and is essential for survival of poor. Critically discuss in the light of Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy Rules, 2015.

There is a clamour by government and activist to replace Public distribution system with direct benefit transfer given the lacunae in existing PDS system.Public distribution system has been facing challenges on following front
1.) Procurement issue:
High procurement and high MSP on rice and wheat has led led to the high production of rice and wheat neglecting other nutritious crop
2.)Storage:
Lack of existing buffer capacity in godown has led to the rotten of food grain .
3.)Distribution through PDS shop
Intended beneficiary are not targeted.eg.ghost ration card
Leakage of food grain
The above challenges can be addressed through DBT which involves direct transfer of benefit to the intended beneficiary curving leakage and corruption.However inspite of challenge PDS is irreplaceable because
1.)21% of Indian population are undernourished, nearly 44% of under-5 children are underweight . India is firmly established among the world’s most hunger-ridden countries and PDS serve as a panacea to their need.
2.)Financial literacy in India is very low and half of its population are still to become a part of financial inclusion.DBT will not address the need of tis section of population while PDS effectively serve.
3.)High MSP for foodgrain incentivise farmer in ensuring food security.
4.)PDS ensure food distribution from surplus region to deficit region.
PDS should not been Dismantled but it need to be made effective.It’s effective in Tamilnadu and chattisgarh.This is much needed programme to solve malnutrition problem of India.Digitisation can ensure curbing leakage and corruption.

Question for UPSC Mains:
"Despite many flaws that demand reform, India's PDS (Public Distribution System) has stood the test of time and is essential for survival of poor." Critically discuss in the light of Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy Rules, 2015.

Published: January 27, 2017 | Modified:June 22, 2019

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