The Government of Kerala and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 26th February 2014 at Government Guest House, Thiruvananthapuram, which paves the way for reforming the State’s Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
Under the agreement, WFP will assist the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department of the Government of Kerala with the end-to-end computerisation of the TPDS in order to improve targeting of the subsidy and reduce leakages in the system. Under the overall objective to optimise the performance of the TPDS in Kerala, improving beneficiary convenience is an important focus area of the partnership. This includes improving service and accountability of the system. WFP will also work with the Government on improving viability of Fair Price Shops, where transactions with entitled beneficiaries take place. Under the National Food Security Act, 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 in strengthening the national food-based safety net, the TPDS, since 2007. After in-depth analysis of the mechanisms that lead to weaknesses in the system, WFP evaluated reform efforts across the country to identify best practices for the development of a comprehensive TPDS reform model that is adaptable to the varying contexts found across India. The reforms not only improve the efficiency of the programme but as a result also generate savings for the Government. WFP advocates for the savings generated to be reinvested into the system by improving the nutritional value of the food provided under the scheme. After Odisha, Kerala is the second state in India partnering with WFP on TPDS reforms.
The State Government will initially be assisted by WFP in identifying, calibrating and implementing relevant elements of the WFP best practice solution over a period of up to three years.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.