ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Reforming PDS

This is with reference to the editorial, “Volte-face on Food Security” (EPW, 31 January 2015). India’s chance of winning her battle against hunger through enforcing the National Food Security Act (NFSA) depends on the performance of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) that presently appears to be a typical case of the glass being half full and half empty at the same time. Regretfully, the system is poorly targeted as well as badly broken and also plagued by exclusion errors (of BPL) and inclusion errors (of APL). Even Chhattisgarh’s PDS which is widely touted as a role model for other states is falling apart due to corruption and mismanagement. The Raman Singh administration is in a dilemma on how to handle as many as 1.1 million bogus ration cards that is leading to a huge chunk of embezzlement.

Technology cannot be a silver bullet if there is no working gun to fire from. Technological intervention can be subverted at times. For example, GPS and Point-of-Sale (PoS) devices are good but the corrupt are smarter. Moreover, it is also foolish to assume that people are robotic units that do the job they are entrusted with flawlessly.

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