Govt mulls renaming of PDS after Indira Gandhi

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New Delhi, October 16:  The government is considering a proposal to rename the public distribution system after Indira Gandhi to prevent opposition parties from taking credit for implementing the National Food Security Act.

“There is a proposal to rename the existing Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS),” Food Minister K.V. Thomas told PTI. “There are many suggestions like Indiramma Anna Yojana and Annapurna Scheme. We are considering Indiramma Anna Yojana and a final decision on it has not been taken yet.”

With Lok Sabha elections not far away, the thinking in the Congress-led UPA government is that late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s name would help it electorally in view of her pro-poor image.

The food security law, a brainchild of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, could be projected as the unfinished task of Indira Gandhi’s ‘Garibi Hatao’ campaign launched in the 1971 elections.

The minister said the name of the food law would not be changed because that would require an amendment.

“We are going to change the name of the scheme and not the law,” Mr. Thomas said, adding that he is discussing the issue with Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

Apart from renaming the PDS, Mr. Thomas said the government is considering having a logo for the scheme for better reach.

Last month, Parliament passed the food law to give 67 per cent of the population the right to subsidised foodgrains.

Each eligible person would get five kilograms of foodgrains per month at Rs. 3 per kg of rice, Rs. 2 per kg of wheat and Re. 1 per kg of coarse cereals through the state government under the TPDS.

Congress leaders want the government to ensure that non-Congress parties don’t take credit for schemes run and funded by the Centre. They have complained about BJP-ruled states such as Chhattisgarh taking credit for the food law.

Congress-ruled Delhi, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh have already announced the launch of the food law. Other states preparing to roll it out.

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