The Government of India runs the largest food security program in the world. It covers about 850 million people with an annual budget of about USD 25 billion. Under this program, the government provides subsidized food grains to the beneficiaries through a network of fair price shops. Estimates indicate that about 40-50% of this benefit fails to reach the intended beneficiaries.
MSC worked with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and the Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) to assess pilot-tests of different approaches to convert the existing food subsidies into Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). The objectives of these pilots were to reduce leakage and to target real beneficiaries. This resulted in the adoption of the Biometric Authentication, Physical Uptake (BAPU) model for DBT and digitization of the Public Distribution System (PDS). This system has an impact on a large part of 850 million beneficiaries of this program.
MSC also helped the government to assess the readiness to conduct cash transfer pilot pilots at four places across India. After our recommendations, these pilots were designed and conducted at three places. MSC also helped evaluate the implementation of these pilots to improve processes and gauge perception of beneficiaries.