Public Distribution System

Agriculture is the mainstay of the people of Himachal Pradesh and 66.71% of the population depends on it. In this mountaineous state, 80% of the landholdings belong to small and marginal farmers. Only one-fifth of the cultivable land is irrigated and the rest continues to depend heavily upon the monsoon. Therefore achieving food grain productivity through planned target is an arduous task.

PDS schemes are therefore important for ensuring food availability and price control. Everyone in Himachal Pradesh is covered by the public distribution system, even the chief minister. There are 16.31 lakh ration card holders in the state for a population of 68,64,602. The ration card holders include 11.63 lakh above poverty line who get three types of dals (lentils), two edible oils and salt at subsidised rates through 4,634 fair price shops.

Key PDS schemes launched in the state are: Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Annapurna Scheme (AS). The beneficiaries for the Annapurna Scheme are old, destitute, indigent citizens (65 years and above) who are issued 10kg foodgrains per month, free of cost. Through this observatory element, volunteers will get an opportunity to understand how the Public Distribution Scheme works and the logistics behind it. They will also get an opportunity to visit ration shops and to see the PDS in action.