Delhi Government is about to be the first to start pilot project in Central Delhi District replacing the much maligned PDS system with Cash Transfer Policy.
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has sought a grant of Rs 242 crore from Finance Ministry to run a pilot for the cash transfer scheme in five villages – (i) Lakhimpur Kheri (UP), (ii) Hardoi (UP), (iii) Panchkula (Haryana), (iv) Jhajjar (Haryana) and (v) Central Delhi.
Under the policy Antyodaya cardholders will get Rs. 1,100 per month, while BPL cardholders will get Rs. 950 per month whereas, Rs. 250 per month to a category of above poverty line cardholders (whose Income level is below Rs 1 lakh per annum). Proposal also provides for quarterly review of these amounts based on rise in prices of essential commodities. Under the scheme the funds will be directly transferred into the accounts of female head of the family and is likely to be linked to Adhar cards.
However the scheme for replacement is not without its critics, most notably Jean Drez, the economist who also happens to be on NAC, who feels that the argument for Cash Transfer rather than PDS is not so simple. A survey undertaken by his organization has found that people still prefer old PDS than the new system. He has advised caution to PM while implementing Cash Transfer Scheme.
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