Introduction<br />Public Distribution System (PDS), is a national food security system, established by the Government of India .<br />It distributes subsidized food and non-food items to India's poor.<br />The Central Government is responsible for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains.<br />State Governments hold the responsibility for distributing the same to the consumers through the established network of Fair Price Shops (FPSs).<br />
Importance<br />The main purpose of the Public Distribution System(PDS)in India was to act as a price support programme for the consumer during the periods of food shortage of the 1960s.<br />In terms of both coverage and public expenditure, it is considered to be the most important food security network.<br />Major commodities distributed to consumers include staple food grains such as wheat, rice, sugar.<br />
These Commodities are supplied through a network of Fair Price Shops (FPS) established in several states across the country.<br />Food Corporation of India, a Public Sector Undertaking, distributes food grains to FPS throughout the country.<br />As of date there are about 4.99 lakh Fair Price Shops (FPS) across India.<br />Since the mid-1980s,the coverage of the PDS was extended to rural areas in some states.<br />The PDS in India was the largest distribution network of its kind in the world.<br />
Thus, it acted as an instrument of price stabilization and became a countervailing force against private traders who were interested to exploit the situation of scarcity to acquire more and more profits.<br />
Fallouts of Public Distribution System<br />Generally, the consumers get inferior food grains in ration shops.<br />Deceitful dealers replace good supplies received from the F.C.I (Food Corporation of India) with inferior stock.<br />Many FPS (Fair Price Shop) dealers resort to malpractice since they acquire little profit.<br />Despite the PDS, India accounts for over 400 million poor and hungry people.<br /> The PDS has been criticized for its urban bias and its failure to serve the poorer sections of the population effectively. <br />
To improve the current system of the PDS, the following suggestions are furnished for:<br /><ul><li>Vigilance squad should be strengthened to detect corruption, which is an added expenditure for taxpayers.
Personnel incharge of the Department should be chosen locally.
Margin of profit should be increased for honest business, in which case the market system is more apt anyway.
Frequent checks & raids should be conducted to eliminate bogus and duplicate cards, which is again an added expenditure and not fool proof.
The Civil supplies Corporation should open more Fair Price shops in rural areas</li></li></ul><li>RICE SEIZURE: Police check rice bags, which were allegedly stolen from public distribution system shops at Pulianthope, at Basin Bridge police station on Wednesday 18th may 2005.<br />
Targeted Public Distribution System<br />The functioning of the PDS was severely criticized.<br />Realizing this, the Government tried to streamline the system by issuing special cards to Below Poverty Line families and selling Food grains to them at specially subsidized prices with effect from June 1997.<br />Under Targeted Public Distribution System(TDPS), each poor family was entitled to 10kg of food grains at highly subsidized prices.<br />
To increase the extent of benefit to the poor, the allocation of Below Poverty Line families was increased from 10kg to 20kg per month at 50 per cent of the Economic Cost from April 2000.<br />The main aim was to direct the subsidy to Below Poverty Line, and discourage Above Poverty Line families to benefit from PDS. <br />