Chapter 3

Class 9
11. What are the problems of the functioning of ration shops?


What are the problems of the functioning of ration shops?


The public distribution system (PDS) is the most important step taken by the Indian government towards ensuring food security. However, there have been several problems related to the functioning of ration shops. The food grains supplied by the ration shops are not enough to meet the consumption needs of the poor. As a result, they have to depend on markets instead. The average all-India level of consumption of PDS grains is only 1 kg per person per month.

Most public-distribution-system dealers resort to malpractices like diverting food grains to open market to make profits, selling poor quality grains at ration shops, irregular opening of the shops, etc. Such actions make safe and nutritious food inaccessible and unaffordable for many of the poor.

Under the targeted public distribution system, there are three kinds of ration cards: Antyodaya cards (for the poorest of the poor), BPL cards (for those below poverty line) and APL cards (for all others). Prices of the food materials are fixed accordingly. Under this system, any family above the poverty line gets very little discount at the ration shop. The price of food items for an APL family is almost as high as in the open market, so there is little incentive for them to buy the items from the ration shop.

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