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Role of Public Distribution System in Providing Food Security in India


Affiliations
1 Department of Sociology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India
2 Directorate of Extension Education, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India
     

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Food security for a country meant sufficient quantity of essential commodities produced, stored properly and made available to all of the people at all times, especially the under privileged sections. The most important medium through which government ensures food security at micro level is the public distribution system (PDS). Indeed, India's PDS is the world's largest social safety net for food. It operates on the basis of extensive procurement of food grains by the Food Corporation of India on minimum support price terms determined by the Agricultural Prices Commission. Procured product is then distributed through an elaborate national network of Fair Price Shops which sell food grains to poor populations at highly subsidized prices. This has the effect of simultaneously supporting, stabilizing and subsidizing farm incomes for food grain production in a small number of net exporting states Punjab, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh generating a net welfare benefit to poor consumers in other parts of the country, who are able to obtain food grains at below-market price. However, in the 1990s, two major changes were introduced to the PDS, these were: The Revised PDS (RPDS) and the Targeted PDS (TPDS). A two-tier card system was introduced in order to represent a distinction between above and below poverty line cardholders. Each household was allocated to one of the following three categories and was accordingly given a PDS card which specified their entitlements for food grain subsidies. These categories were 'Above Poverty Line' (APL), 'Below Poverty Line' (BPL) and 'Antodaya Anna Yojana' (AAY) cards. This paper tries to to analyse the food security condition of the country during the last few decades and the working of PDS with some macro measures. But in India, the working PDS and government policies have not been successful in achieving food security at the desired level. There is a need for certain reforms in procurement and distribution for better functioning of PDS, i.e., decentralization of procurement and distribution, involving panchayats in PDS.

Keywords

Food Security, Food Grain, Food Price, Food Corporation of India and Public Distribution System.
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  • Role of Public Distribution System in Providing Food Security in India

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Authors

Subhash Chander
Department of Sociology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India
Savita Vermani
Department of Sociology, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India
Ashok Kumar
Directorate of Extension Education, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India

Abstract


Food security for a country meant sufficient quantity of essential commodities produced, stored properly and made available to all of the people at all times, especially the under privileged sections. The most important medium through which government ensures food security at micro level is the public distribution system (PDS). Indeed, India's PDS is the world's largest social safety net for food. It operates on the basis of extensive procurement of food grains by the Food Corporation of India on minimum support price terms determined by the Agricultural Prices Commission. Procured product is then distributed through an elaborate national network of Fair Price Shops which sell food grains to poor populations at highly subsidized prices. This has the effect of simultaneously supporting, stabilizing and subsidizing farm incomes for food grain production in a small number of net exporting states Punjab, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh generating a net welfare benefit to poor consumers in other parts of the country, who are able to obtain food grains at below-market price. However, in the 1990s, two major changes were introduced to the PDS, these were: The Revised PDS (RPDS) and the Targeted PDS (TPDS). A two-tier card system was introduced in order to represent a distinction between above and below poverty line cardholders. Each household was allocated to one of the following three categories and was accordingly given a PDS card which specified their entitlements for food grain subsidies. These categories were 'Above Poverty Line' (APL), 'Below Poverty Line' (BPL) and 'Antodaya Anna Yojana' (AAY) cards. This paper tries to to analyse the food security condition of the country during the last few decades and the working of PDS with some macro measures. But in India, the working PDS and government policies have not been successful in achieving food security at the desired level. There is a need for certain reforms in procurement and distribution for better functioning of PDS, i.e., decentralization of procurement and distribution, involving panchayats in PDS.

Keywords


Food Security, Food Grain, Food Price, Food Corporation of India and Public Distribution System.