Aadhaar Necessary For PDS Food Grain Purchases – The Next Step In India’s Welfare Reform

One of the general observations about India’s welfare system over the decades is that it is a hugely complicated, grossly inefficient, and corrupt mess. And as such sorting it out will make the country richer as well as making the poor so–at the expense of course of some of those who benefit from the current mess. Further, everyone has known what needs to be done. Instead of the government buying up goods, storing them (and letting them rot, losing them in transport, their being stolen or moved off at the subsidised price to be sold at the market one and so on) and then trying to deliver grain, or cooking oil, to poor people, just give the money to the poor people and let them go buy their own stuff.

The end goal is the eminently sensible idea of abolishing the ration altogether and making the system one purely of cash transfers. This will save vast amounts for the government. And it will also make the poor richer. Not just because they’re more likely to get money that the more easily diverted physical supplies, but because they will also be able to spend the money on what they actually desire rather than just being given what is often rather low grade food.

As I say, everyone has known this change should come and Aadhaar is a necessary part of such change. It absolutely cannot be done in just the one fell swoop so this linkage of the registration with the current ration system is a useful intermediary step.

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