8.24         ndian    onom
           (i) There is entitlement feeding programmes     public expenditure/subsidy on PDS reaches the
                like the Integrated Child Development      beneficiary. There is a case for introducing DBT
                Scheme (ICDS – covers all Children         (Direct Benefit Transfer) for consumers of food
                under six, pregnant and lactating          and kerosene as is under way in Andhra Pradesh.
                mothers)                                   Though, there are challenges in implementing
          (ii) Mid Day Meal Schemes (MDMS),                DBT.
         (iii) Food subsidy programmes like the                 As per the Economic Survey 2016-17,
                Targeted Public Distribution System        despite increased procurement of food-grains
                (through which the National Food           offtakes from PDS have been declining in past
                Security Act is being implemented)         few years. This suggests that despite enhanced
                                                           availability in the PDS and high inflation in
         (iv) Annapurna (10 kgs of free food grain for
                                                           foodgrains, dependence on the PDS is reducing
                destitute poor) and the
                                                           – this could be only due to two reasons –
          (v) Employment Programmes like Mahatma
                                                                (i) Foodgrains are not made available timely
                Gandhi National Rural Employment
                                                                    by the PDS, and/or
                Guarantee Scheme (100 days of
                employment at minimum wages) to                (ii) Quality of the PDS foodgrains are inferior
                ensure food security.                               in comparison to their counterparts in
                                                                    the open market.
           Till the vulnerable population is not enabled
     with the market-linked purchasing capacity, these          There are certain anomalies in India’s
     programmes will be relevant in case ensuring food     food management under the PDS which need
                                                           immediate attention –
     security in the country. There is a need to run these
     schemes with utmost focus of the beneficiaries.            (i) The percentage distribution of the
                                                                    economic cost of wheat and rice has been
        Pds & Food suBsIdy                                          rising fast. The pooled cost of foodgrains
                                                                    (MSP plus the Bonus which are offered by
     The Public Distribution System (PDS was changed                the individual states) accounts for two-
     to Targeted PDS in 1997) strives to ensure food                thirds of the economic cost of wheat and
     security through timely and affordable distribution            rice. This has made the economic cost of
     of foodgrains to the BPL population as this section            foodgrains to the Food Corporation of
     can not afford to pay market prices for their food.            India (FCI) increase over the years.
     This involves procurement of foodgrain at MSP by          (ii) Increasing costs of labour, fertilizers,
     the Government, building up and maintenance of                 pesticides and other inputs have made
     food stocks, their storage, and timely distribution,           production of crops costlier over the
     making foodgrains accessible at reasonable prices              time. This forced the government to keep
     to the vulnerable sections of the population.                  on increasing the MSPs of the crops, too.
           However, the system of PDS has many                (iii) The increase in the food subsidy bill
     weaknesses leading to leakages and targeted                    is determined by the rate at which the
     beneficiaries being left out of the system. The                MSPs for wheat and rice increase and
     PDS incurs high costs for procurement, storage                 the economic cost of handling grains (their
     and distribution of foodgrains. There is scope                 procurement, stocking and distribution
     to increase efficiency of the PDS operations and               to the targeted households). This has
     reduce costs. Only a small proportion of the                   been the major factor for ballooning