A grain of common sense

Chhattisgarh proves no cash transfer or UID is needed to make PDS work

Viewed from a ration shop in Surguja in the largely poor tribal north of Chhattisgarh, the arguments for and against the food security Bill seem way off the mark. We had travelled there to see first-hand Chhattisgarh’s much-celebrated transformation of its broken, corrupt public distribution system (a recent survey found that wastage of PDS grain dropped from 60 per cent in 2004 to an astonishing 10 per cent in 2009). In village after village, we were told that the grain arrives every month on a fixed date, is of decent quality, not worm-infested or broken, and that every ration card holder in the village gets his/her full due of 35 kg of rice at the declared price of Rs 1 or Rs 2 per kg.