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UPSC Mains 2022

What are the major challenges of Public Distribution System (PDS) in India ? How can it be made effective and transparent?

General Studies Paper - 3, Topic: Public Distribution System

Dec 30, 2022

2 min read

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The Public Distribution System (PDS) in India is a government-run program that aims to provide affordable food and other essential goods to low-income households. However, the PDS has faced a number of challenges over the years, including:

 

1. Leakages and corruption: There have been widespread reports of corruption and leakages in the PDS, with middlemen and corrupt officials diverting subsidised goods for sale in the open market or selling them at higher prices to beneficiaries.

 

2. Limited coverage: The PDS has struggled to reach a significant portion of the population, particularly in rural areas and among vulnerable groups such as women and children.

 

3. Poor quality of goods: There have been complaints about the quality of goods distributed through the PDS, with some goods being stale or expired.

 

4. Limited variety of goods: The PDS has traditionally focused on the distribution of a few basic staples such as rice, wheat, and sugar, with little variety in the types of goods available.

 

To make the PDS more effective and transparent, the government could consider implementing measures such as:

 

1. Using technology, such as biometric identification and digital records, to improve transparency and reduce leakages.

 

2. Expanding the coverage of the PDS to reach more vulnerable groups and improving the targeting of subsidies to ensure that they reach those who need them most.

 

3. Improving the quality and variety of goods available through the PDS by increasing the budget for procurement and offering a wider range of goods.

 

4. Involving civil society organizations and community groups in the implementation and monitoring of the PDS to ensure accountability and transparency.

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