Govt spends `2.50/person daily under PDS
It allocated Rs830 crore for ration and food in 2021-22, which was lower than Rs1,189 crore set aside last year
Ahmedabad: As the COVID-19 pandemic wrecks havoc on the health of citizens, a food crisis also seems to have plagued the Public Distribution System (PDS). There have been questions regarding the quality of food grains being provided under PDS. This is because the state government has been spending only 0.5% of the total budget allocated to the food distribution scheme.
For the current 2021-22 fiscal, the government capped Rs1,224 crore for ration supply, which will cater to the needs of 80% kids below the age of five years, 69% women in the 15 to 49 years age group, and 36% men belonging to the same age group as women and those suffering from malnourishment.
Economist Hemantkumar Shah, who has analyzed the Budget presented in the state legislative assembly this year, stated that there has been a decrease in the ration budget of underprivileged families. “Food subsidy and the nourishment budget is only 2.03% of its total Budget. And, the government has only spent Rs2.50 per person daily on the public’s food needs. In 2019-20, the government had spent only Rs358 crore against which Rs1,189 crore revised estimate was placed in 2020-21. Meanwhile, an estimated total of Rs830 crore has been set aside for ration in the year 2021-22. I believe that the not for the public’s benefit, but due to inflation and price rise of grains,” asserted Shah.
The economist further stated that this year the government did not specify any provisions for subsidized ration such as wheat, rice, cottonseed oil, salt, sugar, kerosene, among others. “The amount that the government is spending on food and ration for the underprivileged is too little when the state population is rattling under the grip of malnourishment,” he lamented.