States fail to take full delivery of grain under TPDS scheme
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n Dismal figures belie hopes of successful implementation of food security law
As the Centre braces for an expanded distribution of grain among the poor under the national food security law, here's a sobering thought. According to the latest official data, various state governments have failed to utilise even the grain allocated under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
During the last three fiscal years, states have not been able to take the full delivery of grain — mostly rice and wheat — allocated under TPDS, which targets 6.52 crore Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. Each BPL family is entitled to 35kg each of rice and wheat every month at subsidised rates.
Even a special extra allocation by the food ministry for an estimated 8 crore Above Poverty Line (APL) families has not been entirely lifted. Food ministry officials attribute the low offtake to lack of storage and distribution capacity in the states.
During 2009-10, the government allocated 47 million tonne of grain under TPDS. Of this, only 42 mt was lifted by states. Similarly, in the last fiscal, close to 49 mt of grain was allocated; again, just 43 mt was lifted.
Even under special and additional allocation, states have not shown much 'enthusiasm' in lifting grain. Due to a significant rise in procurement in the last few years, the food ministry has been allocating extra grain to states for distribution among retail consumers.
Since January 2011, the government has allocated 10 mt of grain for BPL and APL families, besides a special allocation of 5 mt to 150 poor districts as directed by the Supreme Court. "We have told the states that if the offtake slips below 50%, we will allocate the rest to states whose lifting has been better," food minister KV Thomas recently told FE.
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