Amartya Sen for universal PDS

Amartya Sen for universal PDS


“I think there is a lot of merit in the event of a (universal) public distribution system...On the other hand, the targeted (PDS) is open to neglect,” Sen said.

He was referring to fears of leakage through the targeted PDS and stressed that the target should be to ensure an equitable supply of foodgrains to the people. Sen was speaking at a function here organised by the Right to Food Campaign.

At present, the Centre provides foodgrains at a cheaper rate through ration shops only to select segments of the population, such as the poorest of the poor (AAY category), the poor (BPL segment) and people above the poverty line (APL), apart from supplying for some welfare schemes. Noted economist Jean Dreze, speaking at the event, termed the government’s proposed Food Security Act a “repackaging” of the existing system.
The government needs to evolve a three-pronged strategy of social assistance, proper nutrition for children and universal PDS before coming up with a comprehensive food security Act, Dreze said.

The Manmohan Singh-led UPA government has said it would formulate a National Food Security Act, whereby every family below the poverty line would get 25 kg of rice or wheat every month at Rs 3 a kg.

Dreze is spearheading the Right to Food campaign which has demanded that five kg of dal at Rs 20 a kg and half-a-kilo of edible oil at Rs 35 a kg be supplied to each family in the poorest of the poor category each month.

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