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Few details, Rs 3.6 lakh crore-question: Will it be a top-up or subsidy tweak? -Aanchal Magazine

e country, accounting for about 5 per cent of GDP by allocation. The top 11 schemes accounted for about 50 per cent of the budgetary allocation – the food subsidy or Public Distribution System (PDS) being the largest, followed by urea subsidy and the NREGA. If states are included, the number of schemes would be even larger. In the Economic Survey for 2016-17, then Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian had proposed a Universal Basic Income

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Prof. Guy Standing, economist at the School Of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, interviewed by Sayantan Bera (

nal period in Indian social policies. I am not taking a political side but I think it is very interesting that there is a movement away from the very paternalistic type of policies represented by the PDS (food subsidy), MGNREGA (employment guarantee), etc. One has to realize that across India, at the moment, there are thousands of schemes. They are on paper and people do not know about them. They do not receive anything. Now, you have a new rhetoric a

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Casting the Net: India's Public Distribution System after the Food Security Act -Jean Dreze, Prankur Gupta, Reetika Khera and Isabel Pimenta

Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal—soon after the National Food Security Act, 2013 came into force. Important gains have been made, including broader coverage, lower targeting errors, accelerated PDS reforms, and a greater political commitment to food security. In four of the six reference states, the PDS seems to be doing reasonably well, but Bihar and Jharkhand still have a long way to go. Even in the

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How to make Direct Benefit Transfers work for the people -Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus and Sandip Sukhtankar

Replacing India's Public Distribution System with Direct Benefit Transfers will improve efficiency, but shouldn't be implemented at the cost of individual choice. The Public Distribution System (PDS) is India’s flagship food security programme but also suffers from well-known inefficiencies. Even official government estimates suggest that a large share of public spending on the PDS does not reach

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Why Universal Basic Income is Fraught With Serious Problems -Prabhat Patnaik

till be inadequate in the absence of guaranteed delivery of goods and services. The amount of income support, for instance, may be calculated on the assumption that the public distribution system (PDS) would be withdrawn, and that everybody would have to pay the open market price for foodgrains; but income support calculated even on this assumption would still not be enough if foodgrains are not actually delivered to the people. The More »

Why everybody loves Universal Basic Income -Ankita Dwivedi Johri

Eight winters ago, the first ever pilot in India to test the feasibility of a basic income programme was carried out in a West Delhi slum — prompted by complaints over a “clogged” PDS scheme. The participants had Rs 1,000 transferred to their accounts per month for 2011, to spend anyhow they liked. Soon, nine villages in Madhya Pradesh were picked for the Madhya Pradesh Unconditional Cash Transfers Project, the 18-month trial the o

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Women from tribal villages 'lose' BPL status after getting Ujjwala LPG -Syed Khalique Ahmed

mahal district, was a BPL cardholder. However, after she was allotted a LPG connection under Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in June 2016, she was denied subsidised kerosene by the local PDS shop. On inquiry, she was told that she had lost her family’s BPL status after taking the LPG connection, and therefore, she was not entitled to subsidised kerosene and other poverty alleviation schemes’ benefits available to BPL families.

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MSP was not 1.5 times the cost of production for most kharif crops during the last 6 agricultural years

r deal. Due care should be taken of the cost escalation after the announcement of MSP in its operationalisation. The government should procure staple grains needed for the public distribution system (PDS) at a price which private traders are willing to pay to farmers. Thus, the procurement prices could be higher than the MSP and would reflect market conditions. The MSP needs to be protected in all the regions across the country. ii) The food secur

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Prof. Abhijit Sen, a former member of the erstwhile Planning Commission, interviewed by M Rajshekhar (

me in the Economic Survey, it was just idiotic. Not only were you thinking of this as replacing our non-existent unemployment benefits and NREGA [National Rural Employment Guarantee Act] but also the PDS [Public Distribution System], MSP [Minimum Support Price] and making inroads into health and education. * Basically, we shut down a set of welfare arrangements and just give cash. Which sounds like populism further corroding the State, stripping aw

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Invisible people: Aadhaar versus particularly vulnerable tribal groups -Jean Dreze

nder a Supreme Court order of May 2, 2003, in the right to food case, Antyodaya ration cards are to be distributed to all PVTG households. This entitles them to 35 kgs of foodgrain per month from the PDS at a nominal price; in fact, for free in the case of Jharkhand. Among the 325 households we surveyed, 87 per cent were on the Antyodaya list. Further, Antyodaya households reported that they were receiving the bulk of their More »

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