Social activist and founder of the Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) Bhamy V. Shenoy said that the Union government’s Aadhaar-based Direct Benefit Transfer scheme would help reduce corruption in the public distribution system
In a release, he said that kerosene distributed through PDS was one of the largest generators of black money in the country. He has quantified it at Rs. 25,000 crore a year. “This amount plays a crucial role during elections and is also the main reason for the lack of reforms in the public distribution system,” he claimed.
More for less
“While the market price for kerosene is around Rs. 44 a litre, the subsidised price is around Rs. 15 a litre in Delhi. However, in Mysore for the 6-litre quota, the poor must shell out Rs. 105. It is unclear why they must pay Rs. 15 more. There were also complaints from consumers that the actual quantity they received was only 5 litres,” Dr. Shenoy said.
MGP was founded in 1989 to find solutions to consumers’ woes.
It had developed a coupon system which was first introduced in K.R. Nagar and later implemented in other parts of Karnataka. However, because of the pressure brought by the kerosene dealers, the State government dropped the coupon system, he said.
‘Up in arms’
Dr. Shenoy said the direct benefit transfer scheme had already resulted in considerable savings; but politicians are up in arms against Aadhaar, and one Parliamentary Committee has already opposed it. He said it was true that there have been umpteen problems in issuing Aadhaar cards.
There are also some technical glitches in using the biometric data associated with the system. Still, considering the benefits that Aadhaar aims to provide, people should be willing to put up with some of these problems.
“Anyone opposing Aadhaar is likely to change their views if they look at the benefits it can give to the poor. Aadhaar will deal with any problems in securing goods under PDS and can be successfully used to reduce the misuse of funds under MNREGA and other schemes for the poor. The direct benefit transfer system will be a game-changer. It will reduce corruption in PDS. It is for this reason that politicians will oppose any such cash transfer policy,” Dr. Shenoy alleged.
He added that the problems posed by PDS would be ameliorated once the Aadhaar-based system was in place.