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Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021
Outlook.com

Food Vs Cash

Much-maligned PDS isn’t an evil for all

Food Vs Cash
Ravi S. Sahani
Food Vs Cash
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Often proposed as an alternative to the Public Distribution System (PDS), we had solicited the people’s vote on the subject of cash transfers in the 2011 PDS Survey covering nine states. We pointedly asked women and men from BPL families how they would feel if the PDS were replaced with equivalent cash transfers paid into their bank accounts.

Responses varied with the context. Where markets and banks were close by, people were not always averse to cash transfers. Where the PDS was functioning well, a large majority were opposed to cash as an alternative. Poor people were especially attached to the PDS. Overall, two-thirds of the respondents preferred food over cash. That preference for food by two-thirds of the respondents has survived in the PEEP survey.

More interesting than this tally were people’s reasoned explanations. Common concerns included the danger that cash might be misused, hassles at the bank, and the unreliability of local markets. “Local traders will raise prices if the PDS closes,” Palaniammal in Tamil Nadu told us. Others...

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