Data Card

For a stronger PDS

Print edition : April 19, 2013
The findings of the 66 National Sample Survey on "Public distribution system and other sources of household consumption" establish the need to strengthen the PDS across the country. Compiled

At a time when there is a rising clamour from some sections of the government to replace the PDS with a direct cash transfer system, the important role the PDS plays in society, especially for those on the margins, is highlighted amply by the survey.

A comparison of some of the findings of the current survey (2009-10) with those of the 61s NSS (2004-05) brought out the following facts:

The contribution of PDS purchases in total food consumption rose considerably in both urban and rural areas.

The incidence of purchases by households was also up in both urban and rural areas.

The pattern of purchase from the PDS based on monthly per capita expenditure (MPCE) shows that the consumption of PDS commodities (except kerosene purchases made in rural areas, which were more or less equal among the lowest to the highest spenders) was the highest among the bottom expenditure class of the population and fell gradually with the rise in the expenditure level.

In rural areas, the share of home produce in total consumption of cereals, pulses and milk has dropped quite significantly.

Across States, the sharp difference in PDS and non-PDS prices played a significant role in people opting to buy from fair price shops. The survey surmises that the extent of the spread of the PDS and differences in the quality of PDS supplies could be the reason for the variation across States.

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