CHENNAI: State Planning Commission Vice-Chairperson J Jeyaranjan on Wednesday lauded the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the State and opined that PDS was responsible for lower food inflation in the Tamil Nadu.
"In the recently released Consumer Price Index (CPI) data by the Union Ministry of Statistics the food inflation in southern districts is too low when compared to the states in other parts of the country. While the national average in food inflation was 7.6 per cent in August, this year, Tamil Nadu has one of the lowest inflations with just 3.1 per cent. The important reason for such low food inflation is PDS in Tamil Nadu which satisfies a major portion of food demand to the people of the State," said Jeyaranjan, while addressing the media.
He also said that CPI data is released periodically by the Union government for state governments to take policy decisions on increasing the salaries and allowances for government employees and to take important decisions on export if the price of a commodity is skyrocketing.
He continued by saying that particularly the inflation of cereals and pulses is 9.5 per cent in the country, but in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka it is less than 5 per cent, which is almost half when compared to the national average. For calculating food inflation, 13 types of goods are taken into consideration. While the essential commodities such as rice and wheat are given more weightage, oil and others are ranked next.
While explaining about the advantages of PDS in Tamil Nadu, Jeyaranjan said that PDS is functioning as a strong network. "While in other states targeted PDS is followed, in Tamil Nadu universal PDS is followed where 2.2 crore ration card holders are provided essential commodities. Tamil Nadu is also implementing special PDS in which one kg of Toor Dhal and one kg of palm oil is provided for every ration card holder due to which the inflation in vegetables and cereals is just 2.7 per cent in the State," said Jeyaranjan.
As far as Toor Dhal is concerned it is sold at only Rs 20 to 25 per kg which is one fifth of the market rate and palm oil is sold at one sixth of the market price. The State is also spending around Rs 6,400 crore as subsidy per year on rice, Toor Dhal and palm oil which has played a major role in reducing food inflation, he added.