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

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Food Supplies for the Poor


As per the methodology of the Suresh Tendulkar Committee report, the population below the poverty line in India was 269 million (21.9% of the population) in 2011–12. These estimates are based on the current official measures of poverty, following the Tendulkar methodology of the poverty line, fixed at a daily expendi­ture of ₹27.2 in rural areas and ₹₹33.3 in urban areas. Currently, the public distribution system (PDS) caters to 81 crore people showing the alarming estimates of the financially afflicted.

The concept of the poor has to be classified into two segments: (i) who are young but poor, who can be helped by the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and by the highly subsidised PDS system, and (ii) those who are both poor and elderly, and lack the physical energy to earn a livelihood to sustain themselves. There are two types of policy initiatives needed for the above two segregated classes:
(i) the first strata of the population be provided access to quality food through PDS, and (ii) the elderly urban poor be provided free cooked meals through home delivery from government sponsored parcel points. This scheme could be an extension of the Shiv Bhojan scheme of the Maharashtra government providing a subsidised ₹10 per plate of food.

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