6. Reading Skills Comprehension: Public Distribution System

By | June 17, 2019

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Public Distribution System

The public distribution system, which provides food at low prices, is a subject of vital concern. There is a growing realization that though India has enough food to feed its masses two square meals a day, the monster of starvation and food insecurity continues to haunt the poor in our country.

 Increasing the purchasing power of the poor through providing productive employment leading to rising income, and thus the good standard of living is the ultimate objective of public policy. However, till then, there is a need to provide an assured supply of food through a restructured, more efficient and decentralized public distribution system (PDS).

Although the PDS is extensive—it is one of the largest such systems in the world—it has yet to reach the rural poor and the far off places. It remains an urban phenomenon, with the majority of the rural poor still out of its reach due to lack of economic and physical access. The poorest in the cities and the migrants are left out, for they generally do not possess ration cards. The allocation of PDS supplies in big cities is larger than in rural areas. In view of such deficiencies in the system, the PDS urgently needs to be streamlined. Also, considering the large food grains production combined with food subsidy on one hand and the continuing slow starvation and dismal poverty of the rural population on the other, there is a strong case for making PDS target group oriented.

 The growing salaried class is provided for job security, regular income, and social security. It enjoys almost a hundred per cent insulation against inflation. These gains of development have not percolated down to the vast majority of our working population. If one compares only dearness allowance to the employees in the public and private sector and looks at its growth in the past few years, the rising food subsidy is insignificant to the point of inequity. The food subsidy is a kind of D.A. to the poor, the self-employed and those in the unorganized sector of the economy. However, what is most unfortunate is that out of the large budget of the so-called food subsidy, the major part of it is administrative cost and wastages. A small portion of the above budget goes to the real consumer and an even lesser portion to the poor who are in real need.

 It is true that subsidies should not become a permanent feature, except for the destitute, disabled widows and the old. It is also true that subsidies often create a psychology of dependence and hence is Habit-forming,  killing the general initiative of the people. By making PDS target group oriented, not only the poorest and neediest would be reached without additional cost, but it will actually cut overall costs incurred on large cities and for better off localities. When the food and food subsidy is limited, the rural and urban poor should have the priority in the PDS supplies. The PDS should be closely linked with programmers of employment generation and nutrition improvement.

1. Which of the following is the main reason for the insufficient supply of enough food to the poorest?

 (a) Mismanagement of food stocks

(b) Absence of proper public distribution system

(c) Production of food is less than the demand

(d) Government’s apathy towards the poor

 (e) None of these

 2. What, according to the passage, is the main purpose of public policy in the long run?

(a) Reducing the cost of living index by increasing supplies

(b) Providing enough food to all the citizens

 (c) Good standard of living through productive employment

 (d) Equalizing per capita income across different strata of society

 (e) None of these

3. Which of the following is true of the public distribution system?

(a) It has improved its effectiveness over the years.

(b) It has remained effective only in the cities.

(c) It is unique in the world because of its effectiveness.

(d) It has reached the remotest corner of the country.

(e) None of these

4. The word ‘square’ as used in the passage ‘means

(a) rich

(b) sumptuous

(c) sufficient

 (d) quality

(e) None of these

 5. Which of the following words is the same In meaning as ‘power’ as used in the passage?

(a) vigour

 (b) energy

(c) influence

(d) capacity

6. What, according to the passage, is the main concern about the PDS?

(a) It has not been able to develop confidence in the people at large.

(b) It has not been able to utilize the entire food grains stock available.

 (c) It has effectively channelized the food grains to all sectors.

 (d) It has not been able to provide sufficient food to the poorer section of the society.

 (e) None of these

7. What should be an appropriate step to make the PDS effective?

(a) To make it target group-oriented

(b) To increase the number of food grains per ration card

(c) To decrease the allotment of food grains to the urban sector

 (d) To reduce administrative cost

(e) To increase the number of food grains available for distribution

 8. Which of the following, according to the passage, is compared with dearness allowance?

(a) Food for work programmed

 (b) Unemployment allowance

 (c) Food subsidy

(d) Procurement price of food grains

(e) Poverty Alleviation Programmed

9. Does food subsidy lead to which of the following?

(a) Sense of insecurity

(b) Increased dependence

 (c) Shortage of food grains

(d) Decrease in food grains production

 (e) None of these

10. What, according to the passage, would be the outcome of making the PDS target group oriented?

(a) It will abolish the imbalance of the urban and rural sector.

(b) It will remove poverty.

(c) It will give food to the poorest without additional cost.

 (d) It will motivate the target group population to work more.

11. Which is the same in meaning as ‘system’ as used in the passage?

 (a) routine

 (b) mechanism

(c) machine

(d) procedure

 (e) collection

 12. Which, according to the passage, consumes the major part of the allocated food subsidy?

 A. Urban population

 B. High administrative cost

C. Wastage

 (a) A only

(b) A& B

(c) B& C

 (d) B or C

 (e) A & C

13. What does ‘cut’, as used in the passage, mean?

 (a) damage

(b) cease

(c) destroy

(d) reduce

(e) none of these

14. Which is the same in meaning as the word ‘point?

(a) extent

(b) direct

(c) tip

(d) position

(e) none of these

15. The author’s writing style is

(a) simplistic

(b) argumentative

 (c) verbose

(d) descriptive

(e) analytic


1.(b)                 2. (c)

3. (b)                4. (c)

5. (d)               6. (d)

7. (b)                8. (c)

9. (b)                10. (c) 

11. (b)              12. (c)

13. (d)              14. (a)

15. (b)

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