Public Distribution System (PDS)

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in India and the Rajasthan government have joined hands to improve the Targeted Public Distribution System (TDPS) in the state.

What is Public Distribution System (PDS)?

The Public Distribution System (PDS) evolved as a system of management of scarcity through distribution of foodgrains at affordable prices. Over the years, PDS has become an important part of Government’s policy for management of food economy in the country.

PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State/UT Governments. The Central Government, through Food Corporation of India (FCI), has assumed the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains to the State Governments. The operational responsibility including allocation within State, identification of eligible families, issue of Ration Cards and supervision of the functioning of Fair Price Shops (FPSs) etc., rest with the State Governments. Under the PDS, presently the commodities namely wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene are being allocated to the States/UTs for distribution.

Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS):

Under the new Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) each poor family is entitled to 10 kilograms of food grains per month (20 kg wef April 2000) at specially subsidised prices. This is likely to benefit about six crore poor families, to whom a quantity of about 72 lakh tonnes of food grains per year is earmarked. The identification of the beneficiaries is done by the States, based on state-wise poverty estimates of the Planning Commission. The thrust is to limit the benefit to the truly poor and vulnerable sections.

Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

AAY was a step in the direction of making TPDS aim at reducing hunger among the poorest segments of the BPL population. A National Sample Survey Exercise pointed towards the fact that about 5% of the total population in the country sleeps without two square meals a day. This section of the population could be called as "hungry”. In order to make TPDS more focused and targeted towards this category of population, the "Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 for poorest of the poor families providing them food grains at a highly subsidized rate of Rs.2/- per kg. for wheat and Rs.3/- per kg for rice. The States/UTs were required to bear the distribution cost, including margin to dealers and retailers as well as the transportation cost. Thus the entire food subsidy was passed on to the consumers under the scheme.

How can Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) be improved?

The use of digitisation, data aggregation, performance dashboards for monitoring of the TDPS, thus providing a real-time and long-term solution to improve the food and nutritional security for millions.