Enthused by the success of its 'Give It Up' campaign on cooking gas subsidy, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government is preparing to roll out a similar campaign for food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution Scheme (TPDS).
The food ministry is in talks with states and has instructed them to promote Give It Up under TPDS, according to a report in The Financial Express.
The Centre, which spends Rs21.09 per kg on wheat and Rs29.64 per kg on rice, wants all fair price shops to display ''real cost of the subsidy'' on the two grains to make people aware of the cost involved and persuade them against taking the grant.
With Give it Up under TPDS, the Modi government aims to direct the benefits to the absolutely needy, plugging leakages of welfare funds.
The move may face difficulties as roughly two-thirds of the country's citizens, about 82 crore, are covered under the National Food Security Act. In contrast, the LPG subsidy was limited to only 19 crore households - a key factor that played out in the success of the Give It up scheme.
Besides Give It Up, the government has undertaken various other measures to bring down the mammoth food subsidy bill such as seeding of Aadhaar cards with 23 crore ration cards, implementing electronic point of sale (e-PoS) machines at fair price shops, etc, to curb diversion of subsidised grains. The government's food subsidy budget for the current fiscal stood at a whopping Rs1.45 lakh crore, up 61 per cent from Rs89,740 crore in 2013-14.