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

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Credibility and Portability?

Lessons from CORE PDS Reforms in Chhattisgarh

Examining the Centralised Online Real-time Electronic Public Distribution System reforms introduced by the Government of Chhattisgarh to understand the processes and conditions under which such reforms strengthen accountability and affect the delivery of public services, it is found that while earlier reforms have been successful, the contribution of CORE PDS has been useful but limited. A significant finding was that technological fixes for social protection programmes are only feasible insofar as they work within the political logic of the context in question. CORE PDS reforms could not address the issues of power imbalances between shop owners and cardholders which continue to shape interactions between them. Introducing transparency, accountability and quasi-market reforms in this context offered limited possibilities in what they could achieve.

We thank Vaibhav Raaj, Vanita Leah Falcao, Sonal Matharu and Ana Abbas for the research assistance provided during the study. This research was supported by the Accountable Grant funded by the Department for International Development at the Institute of Development Studies. Many thanks are due to Samir Garg and Sulakshana Nandi of the Right to Food Campaign in Chhattisgarh, A K Somashekar and numerous others at the National Informatics Centre, and state-level activists with the Right to Food campaign, provided invaluable help in the fi eld.

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