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

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Impact of Public Distribution System on Quality and Diversity of Food Consumption

The public distribution system is criticised for encouraging the poor to satiate their hunger with cheap cereals at the expense of other non-cereal food items, thus indirectly aggravating deficiencies of protein and other nutrients. An in-depth analysis shows that this is not actually so; the consumption of some non-cereal foods increases with the consumption of cereals, indicating a complementary relationship. This becomes possible through the implicit savings the PDS generates for its beneficiaries, due to subsidised cereal prices. Despite this, nutrient deficiency among poorer sections persists, and a comprehensive expansion of the PDS introducing certain non-cereal foods into its ambit can help tackle this issue.

Millets in the Indian Plate

Millets can play a role in providing nutrition security as they are rich in various macro and micronutrients, and can help to fight various non-communicable diseases. Hence, a suggestion was made to include them in the basket of goods provided through the public distribution system. The findings of this article suggest that, with the present level of production, millets can be provided in some states of India which have culturally grown as well as consumed them. However, scaling this policy to the national level may not be possible unless rigorous measures are undertaken to improve production as well as consumer acceptability.
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