ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Is the Effective Delivery Mechanism of Food Support in India?

The public distribution system is the cornerstone of anti-poverty initiatives in India to address the issue of hunger and malnutrition, but is plagued with leakages and corruption. Though several possible reasons account for these problems, one factor that is generally overlooked is the lack of assessment of the preference of the beneficiaries in terms of product portfolio, selection, and delivery mechanisms. Through a mixed methods analysis across Bihar, Odisha and (eastern) Uttar Pradesh, this paper assesses the factors explaining the diversity in the preference for the delivery mechanism. What would be a straightforward choice problem among delivery mechanisms turns out to be far more intricate when mediated by contextual heterogeneity and unequal power relations at different levels. The results highlight the centrality of demand and build a case for demand assessment in improving the effectiveness of the system.

Exploring the Markers of Differential Access to PDS

The various pathways of differential access to the public distribution system in India are analysed. There are three salient features of this exercise: the use of heterogeneous class, caste and gender positioning of the beneficiaries for understanding their varying ability to access their rights; the concept of “effective prices” as a determinant of differential access; and the quality of grains and services as a marker of subtler differentiation.
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