Research Paper On Public Distribution System In India

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Public Distribution System is one of the important elements of Government’s Foods Security System. Through PDS goverment facilitates the supply of food grains to the poor at subsidized rates. PDS involves management of supply of essential commodities at affordable prices to the identified beneficuaries. It also works as instrument for moderating the open market prices of food.

Food security at each level of individual is the first requirement for a healthy and productive life. The concept of PDS in India appeared during 1942 for the 1st time as a result of shortage of food grains during the 2nd world war. Consequently government started intervention in the release of food . rationing in India was started in 1939 in bombay by British government as a measure to ensure equitable distribution of food grains to the urban consumers in the face of rising prices.

Due to rising inflationary pressure in the economy government had to reintroduced rationing in 1950.

India retained public distribution system of food grains as a focused social policy in 1951. in the First Five Year Plan, the scope of PDS was broadened to cover all such areas which suffered from stable food shortages. However food production dropped in the year 1958 when the 2nd plan had just commenced. This factor forced the government to restart procuremetn of food grains and cereals and control on trading of food grains.

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India’s Food Security System with a network of 4. 8 lakhs fair price shops is the largest retail system of its type in the world.

What Is Pds System

Since 1951 PDS is deliberate social policy with the objectives of : (i) Providing food grains and other essential items to vulnerable sections of the society at reasonable (subsidized) prices (ii) To put an indirect check on the open market prices of various items and (iii) To attempt socialization in the matter of distribution of essential commodities.  The history of PDS in India can be divided into four phases . The first phase was from its origin to 1960, a period when the system was extended to other cities. During this phase distribution of food was usually dependent on imports of food grain. The second phase from 1960 to 1978 introduced many organisational changes. Specially in response to the food crisis of the mid-1960, the goverment of India took a hoilstic approach to food security, procurement and storage.

The third phase, from 1978 to 1991 was marked by large growth of PDS, supported by domestic procurement and storage. The fourth phase , from 1991 to present, is one in which policy of universal PDS has been replaced by a targeted policy in line with the objectives of liberlization. Thus, over the entire period, the PDS grew from a rationing scheme in selected cities to a national universal programme of food distribution and then to a policy targeted at the income-poor.

The policy purpose is to produce available storage ability necessary for (i) buffer and ready stock of food grains to supply to the Public Distribution System and (ii) the public sector which are engaged in building large scale storage/ warehousing capacity, namely, Food Corporation of India (FCI), Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and 17 State Warehousing Corporations (SWCs). While the ability accessible with FCI is used mainly for storage of food grains, but CWC and SWCs is used for storage of food grains and also other notified commodities.

The Warehousing (Development and Regulation) Act 2007 was enacted and notified in September 2007. dependence on the capacity under Cover and Plinth (CAP). There are three agencies in General Warehousing. The Act ensures that the farmers are able to keep their goods in certified warehouses and se warehouses receipt as a negotiable instrument. With the full execution of this Act, farmers would find it easy to take loans from commercial banks against negotiable warehouse receipts and not resort to distress sales to take care of their urgent cash needs.

The Act has since been given effect to in September, 2010. A regulatory Authority namely Warehousing Development & Regulatory Authority (WDRA) has been set up on 26. 10. 2010 under the Act to register and regulate warehouses issuing negotiable warehouse receipts and to implement other Provision of the Act. Food Procurement Policy Public Distribution System in India The stockpile of food grains available with the government agencies as on 1 July 2002 was 63. 01 million tonnes (mt) —( 21. 94 mt of rice and 41. 07 mt of wheat). This was well above the prescribed buffer stock norms.

While the changing demand patterns is one reason for the buildup of surplus food grains, another factor is the propensity of consecutive governments to fix minimum support prices (MSP) for paddy and wheat in excess of the levels prescribed by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices Transportation and Storage: Transportation and storage from procurement centre to the regional depots is the responsibility of FCI. Transportation is generally arranged through private contractors. Lifting of grains from the regional depots to the issue centre is mainly the responsibility of the civil supplies corporation of the state government.

From the issue centre to FPSs it is the responsibility of FPSs, except in state of Andhra Pradesh where the state government provides transportations . Proper storage of such large stocks is an important aspect of Public Distribution System (PDS). The main goal is to keep the cost down and to prevent deterioration in stocks. The various agencies are engaged in this process. But there is chances of corruption during the transportation as a case came into existence in Ambala district of Haryana state . A truck having 200 KT. heat as a part of AAY scheme under PDS was taking it in the open market to be sold was captured by the police. Hence there is possibility of corruption in PDS, if the transportation system is hired from private agencies. Goals of PDS The goal of PDS does not restrict itself with the distribution of rationed articles. Making available adequate quantities of essential articles at all times, in places accessible to all, at prices affordable to all and protection of the weaker section of the population from the vicious spiral of rising prices is the broad spectrum of PDS.

More specifically, the goals of PDS are: Make goods available to consumers, especially the disadvantaged / vulnerable sections of society at fair prices; Rectify the existing imbalances between the supply and demand for consumer goods; Check and prevent hoarding and black marketing in essential commodities; Ensure social justice in distribution of basic necessities of life; Even out fluctuations in prices and availability of mass consumption goods; and Support poverty-alleviation programmes, particularly, rural employment programmes, (SGRY/SGSY/IRDP/ Mid day meals, ICDS, DWCRA, SHGs and Food for Work and educational (feeding programmes).

Problems: The problems of Public Distribution System have not been uniform in the country. In some states the administration is weak and corrupt. In these states deficiencies regarding huge shortage of stocks, fake supply entries in ration cards, diversion of commodities for sale to open market and bogus ration cards are noted. PDS suffers from irregular and poor quality of food grain made available through Fair Price Shops (FPS). The position in rural areas in this respect is much worse Public Distribution System in India than urban areas . The PDS in rural areas has not been given much attention.

Most of the FPSs are economically non- viable which is The main reason for this low rate of commission. The storage facilities in India are not sufficient to cope with the problems. There is also a possibility of corruption at local level. The procurement system in India is not uniform. The distribution system of essential commodities is so meager that it can hardly suffice the need of a family. And even for this the consumers have to make repeated visits to the ration shops in their respective areas. Most of the times they come back empty handed with assurance that ration would be made available to them in the next week.

The Challenges There are many systemic challenges that plague the PDS system today and the key ones are described below: 1. PDS Leakages The TPDS currently suffers from a number of issues that make it difficult for it to meet its objective of ensuring that the allotted quota of specified food articles reaches the intended underprivileged/needy segments of society: A large number of families living below the poverty line have not been enrolled and therefore do not have access to ration cards A number of bogus ration cards which do not correspond to real families, exist in the BPL & AAY categories.

Food drawn on the basis of these bogus cards is a significant leakage from the system, as it does not reach the intended beneficiaries. Additionally, these extra cards inflate the number of BPL and AAY cards in circulation and further reduce the amount of food available to every rightful beneficiary family. A number of instances where benefits are being availed in the names of rightfully entitled families without their knowledge.

This shadow ownership is possible due to inefficiencies in ration card issuance and distribution Errors in categorization of families that lead to BPL families getting APL cards and vice versa. A significant portion of benefits provided to the APL category under the TPDS, are not availed by the intended beneficiaries and are instead diverted out of the system. In summary, targeting is not serving its real purpose, as the beneficiaries do not get food grains in accordance with their entitlements.

Scale and Quality of Issue – The scale of issue and the quality of food grains delivered to the beneficiary is rarely in conformity with the policy. Many FPS are open only for a few days in a month and beneficiaries who do not visit the FPS on these days are denied their right. The FPS also use multiple excuses to both charge higher rates and deliver reduced quantity of food grains. There are also significant differences in the manner in which the Centre and States arrive at the number of BPL families.

This mismatch usually means lower allotments for each family as states arrive at higher numbers of BPL families. As this problem may not go away even after reduction of duplicates, a standard way of doing this must be arrived at for each state to resolve this issue. System Transparency and Accountability –The most serious flaw plaguing the system at present is the lack of transparency and accountability in its functioning. The system lacks transparency and accountability at all levels making monitoring the system extremely difficult. Public Distribution System in India

Grievance Redressal Mechanisms – There are numerous entities like Vigilance Committee, Anti-Hoarding Cells constituted to ensure smooth functioning of the PDS system. Their impact is virtually non-existent on the ground and as a result, malpractices abound to the great discomfiture of the common man. Apart from the challenges described, transportation of food grains and appointment of dealers of Fair Price Shops have also become difficult issues. Viability of the FPS is already a major concern and this would get amplified once PDS leakages are brought under control.

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Research Paper On Public Distribution System In India. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

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