No move to dismantle MSP and PDS, says Montek

No move to dismantle MSP and PDS, says Montek

Pitching for direct cash transfer of food subsidy, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia today assured this would not result in dismantling of current system of procuring grains at minimum support price (MSP) and distribution through PDS.

"...about the cash transfer (of subsidy), the accusation is that you want to dismantle the PDS. This is completely wrong because there is no question of dismantling the minimum support prices," Ahluwalia said at a meeting of state food ministers for strengthening PDS.

The government would continue the public procurement of food grains like wheat and paddy and sell it without subsidy through PDS, he said adding that food subsidy would be transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries to plug leakages.

Echoing similar views, Food Minister K V Thomas said, "Among other measures to check the leakage and diversions, an alternate model of direct transfer of food subsidy is being considered".

Finance Ministry has proposed to introduce direct cash transfer of food subsidy in Delhi and six union territories including Chandigarh and Puducherry.

Ahluwalia also hinted there would be pressure on global food prices and there is high export potential. However, according to government data, India is net importer of edible oils and pulses.

He also pointed out that if India achieves high economic growth in next ten years, the per capita income would be doubled which would led to change in food mix.

"I think that if we succeed in the economic growth target, that we have set ourselves, then per capita income of the country will be doubled in ten years.

"The complaint today is that the prices of non-food grains items are high. The prices of vegetable, milk and meat are rising much more than food grains. In the overall food economy, the PDS is shrinking part," he added.

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