Despite many astounding developmental images being shown in Bihar, the revelations of a new study on the status of country’s largest welfare scheme ‘Public Distribution System (PDS)’ in the state portrays a different picture.

According to a recent survey carried to assay the effectiveness of PDS in nine states by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, around 70 percent of the rural population living in Bihar is half-fed and compelled to skip their meals due to high levels of poverty here.

“70 percent of the total rural populace interviewed told us they had gone to beds with empty stomach several times in the past in Bihar,” a news agency reported quoting development economist Jean Dreze, who led the study in the nine states in the country.

Although Nitish Kumar-led Bihar Government has time and again came up with ground-breaking schemes to rectify the irregularities prospering in the Targeted Public Distribution System (TDPS) in the state, but the new findings divulge no sign of remarkable improvement in the living standards of Below
Poverty Line (BPL) families.

Meanwhile, the survey reports have established the extent of superficiality in the controversial BPL definition given by the Planning Commission that says those spending more than Rs 26 in rural areas and more than Rs 32 in urban areas would not fall under BPL.

Bihar is the first state in introducing schemes like coupon system for PDS to check malpractices and encourage the welfare scheme here. Moreover, in a bid to provide more food grains at subsidized rates to target groups, the state government had ran month-long ‘Century rice festival’ in August this year during which 20 kg rice had been made available to every BPL family at subsidized rates in additional to the food grains they draw.

JPN