Indian households purchased much more food items through the public distribution system (PDS) in 2009-10 than they did five years ago, the 66th National Sample Survey has indicated, raising doubts over the effectiveness of the government’s new direct cash transfer system over a large base.

Greater penetration and higher use of the PDS will make it difficult for the government to eventually deliver the Rs 75,000-crore food subsidy to its eligible beneficiaries.