The Government of Kerala and the World Food Programme (WFP) have signed an agreement to help reform the State’s Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
The agreement relates to the computerisation of the TPDS to improve targeting and reduce leakages in the system. The reforms also aim to make the system more convenient for recipients and stakeholders, as well as improving accountability and transparency.
“This partnership will harness the strength and expertise of WFP in the area of food security and bring it together with the Government of Kerala’s commitment to reform in the TPDS,” said Anoop Jacob, Kerala’s Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Protection and Registration.
Researching Best Practices
After in-depth analysis of the system in 2007, WFP evaluated reform efforts across the country to identify best practices for the development of a comprehensive TPDS reform model.
WFP developed the TPDS Best Practice Solution – also known as the ‘Secure, Strengthen, Save’ or ‘3S Model’ - which was introduced to the Federal and State Governments in 2013 as an adaptable model for the varying contexts found across India.
“Kerala is the second state - after Odisha - to endorse the WFP-developed TPDS Best Practice Solution for the benefit of millions of people who critically depend on the subsidised food,” explained WFP Country Director a.i., Michael Jensen.
The reforms under the Best Practice Solution not only improve the efficiency of the TPDS, but also generate savings, which WFP advocates to be reinvested into the system by improving the nutritional value of the food basket provided.
Largest Food Safety Net
The Indian TPDS is thought to be the largest food-based social safety net in the world with more than 800 million beneficiaries.
Under the National Food Security Act, passed by Parliament in late 2013, State Governments must ensure the right to subsidised food for all entitled beneficiaries through the TPDS.
WFP has been providing technical assistance to the Government of India to strengthen the system for a number of years.