RTI to strengthen PDS
The Public Distribution System (PDS) has received criticism for being ineffective in targeting the food to the needy citizens. A research report (Yale University) has showed that between 15% and 60% of all subsidized food managed by the Public distribution system (PDS)does not reach the households genuinely eligible for the subsidies. The Planning Commission had estimated that out of 223.2 million ration cards in circulation, only 180.3 million were truly eligible for them. This has been confirmed as per a reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act which revealed that Maharashtra government had issued 42 lakh fake ration cards in 2011.
It has been reported that a RTI activist,Mahendra Thakur, was seriously beaten by ration (fair price) shopkeepers with iron rod and bricks for filing an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to get the details of food grain supplies to shops. Former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi has recommended that in such cases, the information seekers should file a complaint with the SIC (State Information Commission) and a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) should also be filed.
As per an estimation, there are 223.2 million ration cards in circulation, though the number of eligible households is merely 180.3 million.