Citing a survey of the public distribution system (PDS),former NAC member and economist Jean Dreze has asserted that the PDS system has witnessed an impressive revival in the country and has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to put the strongest possible safeguards against the option of cash transfer of food subsidy in the proposed food security law.
This survey points to an impressive revival of the PDS across the country. The days when up to half of the PDS grain was diverted to the open market are gone. We urge you to ensure that the National Food Security Act includes the strongest possible safeguards against a hasty transition from food entitlements to cash transfers, wrote Dreze,along with the group of research scholars who conducted the survey,to the PM.
The said survey,conducted during May-June 2011,covered more than 100 randomly selected villages from Andhra Pradesh,Bihar,Chhattisgarh,Himachal Pradesh,Jharkhand,Orissa,Rajasthan,Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Significantly,the draft food security Bill,approved by the EGoM,has provided the government an option for introducing a scheme for cash transfer,food coupons,among others in lieu of foodgrain entitlement.