PDS ( public distribution system )

Reviewed by Vishnava | Updated on Mar 01, 2023


Introduction to PDS ( public distribution system )

  • Public Distribution System (PDS) is a government managed process of ensuring that food, staples, grains and other necessities are being provided to the poorer sections of the society in India.
  • Food and some non-food items are provided at a subsidised rate through a chain of Fair Price Shops (FPS) or Ration Shops. The system is managed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

Understanding Public Distribution System

  • The state and the central governments work hand in hand to provide food grains and other essential items at low prices for communities that are under and just above the poverty line.
  • The Central Government takes the responsibility to procure, preserve, transport and allocate the resources. The State Government ensures the setting up of a network of recognition and availability of these rations via cards and shops.

  • Items like wheat, rice, sugar, kerosene, spices and salt, pulses and oils etc. are channeled through this network. The parties and agencies that aid in the process are always associated and are the responsibility of the Food Commission of India.

  • What started as a regimen for management scarcity evolved to become an equitable system to sustain the poorer sections and control the price risk to them.

Highlights of the Public Distribution System

  • There are eight main stages in the process of PDS that range from supply chain, administration and distribution to the final beneficiary.

  • The State Government oversees the process of allocating cards for recognizing the poor families, setting up of FPS, and managing and monitoring the resources.

  • The original system came about in 1939 during the second world war. It spread to other cities and towns after the Great Bengal Famine in 1943 and after, which increased pressure on maintaining food security.

  • The system is not without its defects. Shortcomings include corruption, urban bias, price management inefficacy and other malpractices. Automating the process had cleared only some of the issues.

  • Aadhar worked towards lessening the follies of the system by providing a clear and specified manner of recognition.

  • More than computerization though, adequate supervision of records and stores is mostly advised.

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