The below mentioned article provides an overview on the Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS), 1992. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Introduction to Revamped Public Distribution System 2. Objectives of Revamped Public Distribution System 3. Functioning 4. Extension 5. Key Achievements.

Introduction to Revamped Public Distribution System:

On 1st January, 1992, the Government of India launched a new scheme to revamp the public distribution system (PDS). Under this scheme, the Government has identified 1775 blocks falling in drought prone desert, integrated tribal development project areas and certain designated hill areas.

It has been estimated that the revamped PDS would cover nearly 16 crore people living in these identified areas and accordingly decided to issue new ration cards in these newly identified areas.

In these areas, additional commodities like tea, soap, pulses and iodized salts are also envisaged to be distributed through PDS. It has been decided that about 11,000 new fair price shops (FPS) would be opened in these identified areas to cater to the basic needs of the people.


The Government has taken initiatives to open 1,000 additional godowns with a total storage capacity of 3, 30,000 tonnes in these identified areas.

Objectives of Revamped Public Distribution System:

Under this revamped PDS, these new initiatives are undertaken with the following objectives:

(i) It has been decided to make special efforts for effective reach of benefits to the families of identified areas living below the poverty line.

(ii) In these identified areas, the delivery of commodities to the doorstep of the fair price shops would be undertaken by the state governments wherever possible.


(iii) To ensure a minimum availability of food grains per adult per month to the people of these identified areas.

(iv) To ensure strict vigilance over the delivery system, vigilance committees would be formed at the FPS level for its proper supervision. In these committees, participation of the beneficiaries attached to such shops (FPS), voluntary consumer organisations, responsible persons and women beneficiaries would be necessary.

These committees would normally check the receipts and actual amounts of distribution of the commodities through FPS network.

(v) In order to eliminate bogus ration cards, a routine check of these ration cards would normally be undertaken and steps also be taken to issue new ration cards simultaneously.


(vi) A time-bound plan be undertaken to meet infrastructural requirement such as opening of new fair price shops, building additional storage capacities in these identified areas etc.

Functioning of Revamped PDS:

The Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was launched on January 1, 1992 in 1775 backward and remote blocks falling in drought prone areas, additional commodities like tea, soap, pulses and iodized salt are reportedly distributed by State Governments. Besides the existing 1775 RPDS blocks, Government have identified additional 409 blocks for its inclusion under RPDS scheme.

In order to ensure increased availability of food grains in Revamped PDS areas, an additional quantity of 3.1 million tonnes of food grains (both rice and wheat) has been earmarked for its allocation among the States and UTs.

Extension of Revamped PDS:

The Central Government has announced the extension of the much publicized revamped public distribution system (RPDS) to 671 additional blocks. The extension of coverage to these additional blocks under RPDS will be in line with the Prime Minister’ announcement some time back that additional blocks identified for implementation of the employment assurance scheme (EAS) will be brought under the RPDS.

The Department of Rural Areas and Employment has now finalised the list of 2446 blocks to be covered under the EAS programme. This includes 1775 blocks already covered under RPDS, thus leaving an additional 671 blocks to which the RPDS could be extended.

It has now been decided that the geographical coverage of RPDS would be extended to all the 2446 Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS) Blocks. During 1995-96, RPDS has been extended to 200 more blocks.

Key Achievements of Revamped PDS:

The key achievements of RPDS since its launching on January 1, 1992 include the following:

(a) A total of 1,775 blocks have been identified in 23 states and four Union Territories under the scheme. These include blocks covered under various area specific programmes such as Desert Development Programme (DDP), Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP), the Integrated Tribal Development Projects (ITDP) and certain Designated Hill Areas (DHA) for implementing the RPDS,

(b) In all, 14,181 additional Fair Price Shops (FPS) have been opened in the RPDS areas to improve its access to the consumers.


(c) About 3.86 million additional ration cards have, till now, been issued as a part of the scheme to issue ration cards to all households in the RPDS areas.

(d) Additional storage capacity worth 4, 62,000 tonnes had been hired and 69,000 tonnes storage facility created in these areas.

(e) Additional commodities of common use such as tea, iodized salt, pulses and soaps are being distributed through Public Distribution System (PDS) outlets in the RPDS areas in most states.

(f) A scheme to deliver PDS commodities at the door step of Fair Price Shops (FPS) has been introduced. About 55 thousand FPS out of a total number of 1,02,000 FPS in the RPDS areas have been covered under this scheme.


(g) Most states have set up vigilance committees at the FPS level comprising women, consumer activists, and local consumers to ensure people’s participation, in monitoring of the PDS.

(h) In order to increase the availability of food grains for distribution in the RPDS areas, an additional quantity of two million tonnes per annum from the central pool was earmarked by the Centre with effect from June, 1992.

However, in spite of all these positive indicators put forth by the Government, the RPDS appears to be tottering and an evaluation of the scheme done by the programme evaluation organisation of the Planning Commission at the instance of Prime Minister, has pointed out many loopholes while suggesting suitable interventions.

Even though the supply of PDS items is supplementary in nature, it has helped a lot in protecting the real purchasing power of the vulnerable sections of the population. There is, however, a growing realisation that the PDS as it has now evolved and grown, may be actually serving only a limited proportion of vulnerable section of population of the country.


Moreover, the operation of PDS is also increasing the subsidy burden on FCI operations.

Two major aspects of PDS that need a national consensus include:

(a) The norms of excluding the non- poor and

(b) Limiting the open-ended subsidy on account of FCI operations. Various exclusion criteria for improved targeting of poor and vulnerable sections have been suggested.

Exclusion of income tax payers, salaried employees in Government, public and private sector, registered shop-owners, sales tax assesses, telephone owning families and residents of posh housing colonies etc. are some of the suggested criteria. Thus, time has come to think seriously about the exclusion of “creamy layer” of the society from the purview of rationing network under PDS.