Delhi cuts through PDS debate to launch cash transfers

New initiative to cover whole NCT after positive feedback to 100 family pilot project


Jasleen Kaur | October 17, 2012

The Delhi government is likely to take a radical step of phasing out the public distribution system (PDS) as we know it and replace it with cash transfer: a topic of hot debate for quite some time.

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit has approved the proposal drafted by the department of the food and supplies, sources have told Governance Now.

According to the proposal, an amount of Rs 600 will be transferred every month to the bank account of a woman of every BPL household, using aadhar or UID number.

Cash transfer, quite successful in several South American countries, has been advocated as a solution to the leakages of a highly inefficient PDS. It can stop wastage of food grain in transit, corruption in the process and other ills in the system by giving enough cash in the hands of the beneficiary. The woman representative of the household can go to the market and buy the food grain and other essentials.

On the other hand, several experts argue that cash is not a solution as it can be spent on inessential items including on liquor – if the male head of the family has his way in many cases. They insist that the right way to go is to revamp the PDS.

To cut through the debate, the Delhi government last year launched a pilot project in Raghubir Nagar, involving 450 BPL families. While 100 of them were given Rs 1,000 a month, the rest continued to receive wheat, rice and sugar from the local ration shops.

At the end of a year, the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) was brought in to find out what the beneficiaries had to say. A survey found that the 100 families were satisfied with the cash transfer.

The survey analysis showed that though there was little difference between the amounts of wheat, rice and sugar consumed by the two groups, cash transfer had been effective in significantly increasing consumption of pulses, egg, fish and meat. Also, some households even managed to use part of the money on medical needs.

The survey also found that the performance of the ration shops in the west Delhi area improved after the project was started.

Although 96% of those included in the pilot wished to continue receiving cash, many have a strong opinion in favor of the PDS system of subsidized food and fuel, in spite of its many defects.

The survey recommended that the government must gradually introduce the cash transfer scheme and that too as an option, allowing the people to choose between ration cards and cash.



Other News

Mumbai hospitals shut as more and more healthcare workers test positive

Maharashtra has emerged the epicentre of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in the country with Mumbai reporting the highest number of cases in the state. With more and more healthcare providers getting infected, hospitals are becoming the hotbeds of virus perpetuation. On Monday Wockhardt hosp

As nation lighted lamps, power grid delivered

As Indians switched off lights in homes and lighted lamps and candles Sunday night following prime minister Narendra Modi’s appeal as a gesture of solidarity in the fight against COVID-19, the power grid held up well despite the sudden drop in demand. In a short video message on Friday

3 out of 4 Covid-19 patients in 21-60 yrs age group

Contrary to the perception that the elderly are more at risk from Covid-19, in India as many as 41.88% of corona positive cases are between 21 to 40 years of age. Also, 32.82% positive cases are between 41 to 60 years, followed by 16.69% cases above the age of 60 years and 8.61% coronavirus positive cases

Why everyone should wear mask

In view of the increasing number of COVID -19 cases in the country, the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) has now advised that everyone must voluntarily wear a mask and especially those living in densely populated areas.   Not just as a matter of maintaining personal hygiene

Fighting Covid-19, India has realized its collective strength: PM

In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, people of India have realized their collective strength, prime minister Narendra Modi said in a short video message Friday morning. He also urged people to light lamps Sunday night as a gesture of this collectivity. “Today marks nine days of the na

COVID-19 demobilisation: Lessons for public governance

Demobilization, like its predecessor – demonetization, is another decision gone bad in implementation.  In both instances a careful public administrative action through its governance systems could have saved the magnitude of impact particularly on the most vulnerable sections of the society. Th


Current Issue


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter