Mandis: Mandis are market set up by the state government for the sale of agricultural produce directly from the fanners. Close to 6,800 Mandis exist in India and are believed to cater to a population ofl.36Iakh.
The PDS or the Public Distribution System would easily emerge as the single largest retail chain existing in the country. The evolution of the public distribution of grains in India has its origin in the ‘rationing’ system introduced by the British during World War II. The system was started in 1939 in Bombay and subsequently extended to other cities and towns. By the year 1946, as many as 771 cities/towns were covered. The system was abolished post war, however, on attaining Independence, India was forced to reintroduce it in 1950 in the face of renewed inflationary pressures in the economy.
The system, however continued to remain an essentially urban oriented activity. In fact, towards the end of the first five-year plan (1956), the system was losing its relevance due to comfortable food grains availability. At this point in time, PDS was reintroduced other essential commodities like sugar, cooking coal, and kerosene oil were added to the commodity basket of PDS.
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