Dreze’s letter to PM: PDS is reviving; why hasty shift to cash?

His survey shows poor prefer food, not cash, in well-functioning PDS areas

GN Bureau | July 22, 2011

A group of research scholars and student volunteers led by development economist and former NAC member Jean Dreze has written a letter to the prime minister asserting that its survey shows that the public distribution system (PDS) is witnessing “an impressive revival” across the country.
“The days when up to half of the PDS grain was “diverted” to the open market are gone”, it says.

The group surveyed more than 106 randomly selected villages in nine states – Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar – to arrive at their conclusion.

The letter points out that all the states, except Bihar, took major initiatives to improve PDS and that these efforts are showing results. “We also found that the PDS had become a lifeline for millions of rural households. A well-functioning PDS virtually guarantees that there is always food in the house”, it goes on to add, advocating that there is a good case for “near-universal PDS”.

The survey also looked at the option of cash transfer in the draft food security bill and says in the areas where PDS system is functioning well and among the poor households a majority of people opposed cash transfer, in place of food. The reasons varied: poor banking facility, misuse of money, possibility of spike in prices by the traders etc.

Only in Bihar and parts of UP where PDS is not working people showed substantial interest in cash transfer.

Therefore, the letter appeals to the prime minister “to ensure that the National Food Security Act includes the strongest possible safeguards against a hasty transition from food entitlements to cash transfers”.



Other News

Cast your vote, not vote for caste

Once the schedule for the next assembly elections has been announced, there is a flurry of activity around building caste coalitions. This is more intense in the most populous state,  Uttar Pradesh, which is the most important state in India in any election, in view of its large population estimated a

Maharashtra cities dominate Smart Cities Mission #Streets4People Challenge

In a competition organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nagpur and Aurangabad from Maharashtra are among the 11 cities selected for scaling up their pilot projects and creating permanent public infrastructure. #Streets4People Challenge was org

CNC, Admiral R Hari Kumar condoles deaths of three navy personnel

The three Navy personnel who succumbed to injuries caused by an explosion on board Indian Navy`s destroyer ship INS Ranvir have been identified as Krishan Kumar MCPO (master petty chief officer)I, Surinder Kumar MCPO II & AK Singh MCPO II. In a condolence message, Admiral R Hari Kumar s

Two Indias: One for the billionaires, one struggling for minimum wages

Oxfam India has this week released ‘India Supplement 2022’ with deserving caption ‘inequality kills’. The supplement discusses India’s governance structures that promote the accumulation of wealth by a few, while failing to provide safety netsto the rest of the population. The

Aditya Thackeray launches 2 Oxygen cylinder recharge points

After the oxygen crisis faced during the second wave of Covid-19, the BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has now set up its own medical oxygen cylinder recharge projects.   On Tuesday, guardian minister Aditya Thackeray launched two of the BMC’s new medical oxygen cylinders r

How inequality keeps rising amid pandemic – and is killing people

The world’s ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion (at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day) during the first two years of a pandemic while the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty. A new

Visionary Talk: Farmer`s Agitation, Rakesh Tikait with Kailashnath Adhikari


Current Issue


Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter