UNIVERSALVS TAR­GETED

India Today - - NATION -

One of the big­gest con­cerns with the cur­rent bill is that de­spite huge pub­lic spend­ing, those it in­tends to feed will be left out. The bill says states will pro­vide the list of the poor, but states say they don’t have any. The Cen­tre has con­sti­tuted var­i­ous com­mit­tees to look at mea­sures of poverty: They all come up with dif­fer­ent num­bers. A Plan­ning Com­mis­sion re­port showed 58 per cent of sub­sidised food­grain from the Cen­tral pool doesn’t reach BPL fam­i­lies be­cause of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion er­rors and un­eth­i­cal im­ple­men­ta­tion of PDS. Ac­cord­ing to econ­o­mist Jean Dreze, “Some en­ti­tle­ments in the bill are univer­sal or nearuni­ver­sal, like chil­dren’s and ma­ter­nity en­ti­tle­ments. PDS en­ti­tle­ments are not univer­sal, but can be seen as a step to­wards that, com­pared to BPL tar­get­ing ( the cur­rent ap­proach).”

Govern­ment should talk of uni­ver­sal­i­sa­tion and map its ben­e­fi­cia­ries, to en­sure that those who need food most have ac­cess to it.

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