. The main flaw in the system that a large chunk of those who are eligible for subsidized food grains under BPL category have been left out leading to critically question comprehensiveness of TPDS. The criteria for inclusion in the BPL list are solely economical which is often understated or under reported because lack of availability of national income data.
There are allegations that persons having political patronage have found a place in the BPL list. Not all BPL families are actually’ BPL, but are included. A large number of the very poor families are in the APL category and are thus denied their right for acquiring the subsidized food grains from TPDS. Further, the BPL families graduating in terms of income criteria should technically be excluded as beneficiaries under BPL, however, they continue to do so.
There is thus incentive to be classified as a BPL family; as a result no family would like this tag to go. In the existing system, there is ‘no exit but entry’ only, thus becoming an ever increasing liability of the government, in terms of increase subsidy bill and the benefits ‘not exactly’ those for whom it is intended.
The other is the large-scale black marketing, hoardings and their diversion to open market. Government resources, say that as much as 20 per cent of the food grains meant to be supplied under TPDS, find their own way in the open market. Even the quality of food grains being supplied under TPDS is of suspect, given the conditions of storage in the warehouses of FCI.
The TPDS in its current form is not only inefficient, but more importantly, it does not reach out to the poor people, besides wastage and diversion is rampant. It is ironical that a country like India has more than enough required buffer stock, excessive subsidization by the government, yet there is hunger and about 270 million poor people in the country.