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

Public Distribution SystemSubscribe to Public Distribution System

Troubles with Cash Food Subsidy

A pilot project of cash food subsidy to replace the public distribution system in Nagri block of Ranchi district in Jharkhand is analysed to highlight the problems experienced by Jharkhand in implementation of cash food subsidy through the direct benefit transfer system in the PDS. Further, the limitations of cash transfer as a means to replace the PDS are highlighted as also the infrastructural and institutional constraints to impose digitalisation in rural Indian conditions.

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.

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.

Aadhaar Failures: A Tragedy of Errors

Several instances of practical difficulties that people across India have faced in accessing welfare schemes show the magnitude of the problems inherent in the Aadhaar project.

Credibility and Portability?

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.

Democracy and Violence in India

India: Democracy and Violence edited by Samir Kumar Das; OUP, 2015; pp i-viii+258, ₹ 995.

Some Analytics of Medium and Long Term Food Policy

This paper suggests a simple analytical framework in terms of which answers to questions of an optimal food policy package can be fruitfully sought. This, we believe, is a worthwhile endeavour since not only can some crucial sources of policy failure over the last quinquennium be appreciated in terms of our model, but the absence of such a framework seems to have led the High Level Committee set up to formulate a long term grain policy astray on some important issues in its otherwise well documented and persuasive report.

Starvation Deaths in UP and PDS

If the poor have no money to purchase foodgrains, the public distribution system (PDS) loses all relevance for them. It would serve the poor far better if the huge sums spent on the government's procurement operations and the PDS were devoted to water conservation programmes and pension schemes.

Food Security in Drought-Prone Areas

The functioning of the Public Distribution System (PDS) in India has come under scrutiny because of rising burden of subsidy and storage cost and meagre coverage of the poor and the actual benefits received by them. It is argued in this paper that the existing system has become unwieldy and unsustainable and that the time has come to review it, especially in the context of panchayat raj institutions (PRI) and the role they are expected to play in regard to the rural poor. With the help of illustrative data from two drought-prone districts of Karnataka, an attempt is made in the paper to demonstrate the feasibility of a decentralised system operated by PRI based on the local staples consumed by the poor. The result seems encouraging enough to suggest that it would be worthwhile to have more substantive investigation as also pilot projects to test the workability of the decentralised system.

Food Security

Towards Hunger Free India: Agenda and Imperatives edited by M D Asthana and Pedro Madrano; Manohar Publishers, New Delhi, 2001; pp liii+592, Rs 895

Food Distribution : Focus on Local Effort

Focus on Local Effort More than two months after reports of starvation deaths in Orissa hit the headlines, the central government has decided to launch a grain bank scheme in the tribal areas of the country. The scheme, to be initially implemented in 1.14 lakh villages, has an outlay of Rs 1,066 crore and will involve the setting up of a grain bank on demand in each of these villages. The banks will be stocked with 1 mn tonnes of grain worth Rs 1,000 crore (at the so-called economic cost) provided free of cost as a onetime grant by the central government, and Rs 66 crore will be spent on transportation of grain and other expenses such as on setting up of storage bins. The plan follows the announcement by the government earlier of its intention to provide 5 mn tonnes of foodgrain

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