Govt to consider if tax payers should be out of PDS
The Modi government has asked states to try such a scheme and Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will be discussing the issue with them.
It has also given enough signals that the much-touted welfare food security programme of the UPA government will not be shelved.
In fact, plans are afoot to fine-tune the scheme to target the beneficiaries in a better way and address the foodgrains entitlement, a sensitive issue raised by states.
“It is possible. We are thinking on these lines. I believe that instead of identifying poor beneficiaries, it would be better to identify those who can be excluded from the scheme,” he told in an interview.
He was asked whether the government has any plans to implement the much-discussed idea of excluding income tax payers from the ambit of PDS benefits.
The Minister cited the case of Madhya Pradesh government already implementing a scheme on these lines.
“Class I and II officers and income tax payers are kept out of the ambit of PDS benefits in the state. We have asked all states to try this. I will discuss this issue with the state governments,” he said.
At the same time, Paswan also expressed dissatisfaction over operation of PDS. “The benefit that should reach the poor is not reaching. There are many complaints about PDS.”
With the expiry of the three-month deadline to states to implement the food law that costs over Rs one lakh crore, he said the Centre will give another extension to the states.
“There is no question of closing down the scheme. There is no question of closing down of the previous scheme also till the new one is fully implemented,” he said.
He also rejected suggestions that the new government was not keen about the scheme launched by the previous government last year.