Targeted Public Distribution System
Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) was introduced in India from June 1997. Currently this system is operated under the joint liability of the central and state /UT governments. TPDS is currently working in the entire country.
Responsibility of Central Government
Under TPDS, Central government is responsible for procurement, allocation and transportation of the food grains up to the designated depots of the Food Corporation of India.
Responsibility of State /UT administration
The food grains transported by the centre to state and UT depots are distributed to eligible beneficiaries by states. They also have responsibilities for identification of the eligible beneficiaries, issuing ration cards to them, supervision and monitoring of the Fair Price Shops (FPSs) etc.
Regulation of Fair Price Shops under TPDS
The TPDS and fair price shops are regulated under the TPDS Control Order, and PDS (Control) Order rules, which are updated from time to time. As per these rules:
- The licenses to FPS are issued by the designated authority appointed by State Governments.
- Further, the state /UT government should give preference to the public institutions or public bodies such as panchayats, self help groups, and cooperative societies for licensing of FPS. Further, preference is given to women in and management of FPS by women or their collective.
- States have also been advised to provide reservation to SC/STs and others in licensing of the PDS shops.
Allocation of Food Grains
During planning commission era, the allocation of food grains to states and UTs was done on the basis of consumption in the past. It was average annual off-take of food grains under the PDS during the past 10 years at the time of introduction of TPDS. The states were also allowed in excess of the requirement of the BPL families and the TPDS allocation. This is called “Transitory Allocation” and it was meant for APL (Above Poverty Limits). The objective of this allocation was that, the sudden withdrawal of the APL families from the TPDS was not desirable. The prices of the Transitory Allocation are higher than the BPL prices.
The earlier allocation was 10 Kg. per month, which was increased this to 20 Kg. per family per month at 50% of the economic cost in April 2000. This was further increased to 25 kgs in 2001. Currently, allocation is done as per the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), which provides for all India coverage of upto 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of the urban population for receiving highly subsidized food grains. Under this act, beneficiaries of the Public Distribution System are entitled to 5 kilograms per person per month of cereals at the following prices:
- Rice at ₹3 per kg
- Wheat at ₹2 per kg
- Coarse grains (millet) at ₹1 per kg.
Who fixes the end retail prices?
The end retail prices or Consumer End Prices (CEP) are fixed by the State Governments or UT administration. The government issues the PDS commodities on CIP (Central Issue Price) and the state government fix the Retail price after taking into consideration the margins for wholesalers/retailers, transportations charges, levies, local taxes etc. The states government are requested to not to have a difference of over 50 paise per kg.
End to End Computerization of TPDS
This scheme is being implemented during 12th five year plan by Department of Food and Public Distribution. Under this, in most states the PDS and ration cards have been completely digitized. This scheme is still in operation and is to be completed by 31.3.2018.