What are the major challenges of Public Distribution System (PDS) in India? How can it be made effective and transparent?

Sample Answer


The Public Distribution system (PDS) includes procurement, storage, transportation and distribution of food grains at subsidised prices to implement National Food security Act.


ChallengesStrategies (Shanta Kumar Committee, Eco Survey 2020-21, SC Committee on Farm Laws)
Open ended procurement has led to surplus buffer stocks and hindered agricultural diversificationAdopt closed ended procurement policyLiquidate surplus buffer stocks through open market sales by FCI.
Diversion of food grains during transportation.GPS enabled tracking of Trucks (Delhi)Yellow coloured PDS trucks (Chhattisgarh)
Inadequate storage capacity leading to rotting of grainsIncrease storage capacity through PPPProvide 6 months ration immediately after procurement season.
Distribution: Inclusion and exclusion errors, Leakages (46%), Lack of choice of food grains,  Nutritional insecurity etc.End-to-End Computerisation  (Chhattisgarh)Seeding Aadhaar with ration cardsDBT for food subsidy (Chandigarh)One Nation One Ration CardFood Fortification
Unsustainable Food Subsidy Bill (around Rs 2 lakh crores)Reduce Coverage from 67% of population to 40%Pricing of Food grains for priority households should be linked to MSPCentral Issue Price (CIP) should be revised upwards


The above strategies would bring about reforms leading to twin objectives of – Financial sustainability and enhanced food security through PDS.

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