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

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Assessing Bihar's Coupon-Based PDS

Importance of Local Context

The public distribution system remains the bedrock of India's food security system and the Food Security Act (2013) has only increased its importance. At the same time, the PDS administration has been subject to reform, change and experimentation. States have been experimenting ways to reduce leakages and maladministration. Since 2007, Bihar has used coupons to administer the PDS in order to curb leakages at the fair price shops. How effective has this reform been? Drawing on a primary survey of 350 households from 10 villages in a western district of Bihar, this article suggests that while the coupon system is a potentially effective operational reform, setting the PDS right requires reforms that take into consideration the local politics of resources and rights.

We thank an anonymous referee for useful comments on the earlier draft of this paper. Errors, if any, remain ours.

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