Poor want reformed PDS, not cash transfers

August 11th, 2011 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 11 (IANS) A majority of Delhi’s poor prefer a reformed Public Distribution System (PDS) over cash transfers, a survey by NGO Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan (RRAA) said Thursday.

The survey was conducted in July in slums and resettlement colonies across Delhi, covering 4,005 households.

“We found that about 91.4 percent respondents were strictly against the concept of cash subisidies,” said Dipa Sinha, research scholar at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) here.

Among the PDS reforms suggested in the survey is the system’s universalisation, an idea which 87.4 percent agreed to, states the survey.

“Universalisation will ensure distinction between above poverty line (APL) and below poverty line (BPL) families is done away with,” Sinha said.

“Three quarters of respondents did not want to do away with the PDS because they felt the ration card doubles up as an identity proof, especially in times of death, birth, marriage and employment,” said Sehba Farooqui, another member of RRAA.

“Secondly they feel that it will take away their food security that the PDS ensures, for the money might be used for other needs,” she added.

Dharmendra Yadav, another member of the RRAA, added: “It is our demand that the issue be placed in the public domain and not forcefully thrust by the government.

“The government must ensure the people a reformed PDS which the people desire. It is not an impossible goal and is merely a matter of political will,” he added.

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