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

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Food Security and the Public Distribution System in Jammu and Kashmir

Till 1990–91, Jammu and Kashmir used to be a food surplus state, but it turned into a food-deficit state by 2000, due to changing land use pattern, stagnant agricultural production, unfavourable climate, conflict, and misplaced policy priorities. J&K faces issues with availability and accessibility more than with affordability. This study suggests systematic reforms to curb the leakages within the system in order to provide food security to the people at large.

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Corrigendum

In our article “Food Security and the Public Distribution System in Jammu and Kashmir,” published in the 26 December 2020 issue of EPW, we inadvertently missed citing Dar (2015) for Table 1 and para 7 on page 19. Therefore, we add the following citation in our article through this corrigendum: Dar, Tanveer Ahmad (2015): “Food Security in Kashmir: Food Production and the Universal Public Distribution System,” Social Change, Vol 45, No 3, pp 400–20. The inconvenience is deeply regretted. —Shaveta Kohli, Khurshid Ahmad Rather

The error is regretted. — Ed.

Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) could be listed at the top among the conflicted areas in India. The Kashmir insurgency began in July 1988, which during the 1990s escalated into the most important internal security issue in India. The region has experienced the longest shutdowns, curfews, public agitations and armed conflicts, which have immensely affected the well-being, food security, shelter, health, nutritional security, education and other essential services. In the light of this backdrop, the present study focuses on the necessary provisions for food security in J&K (henceforth referring to the erstwhile state of J&K), where low agricultural technology and lack of non-farm employment results in low purchasing power among the poor families. The present study analyses the situation of local foodgrain production, and the mechanism of the public distribution system (PDS) for providing access to foodgrains for the poor.

The coverage of the literature on the PDS in India addresses issues such as inefficiency, food security, biases, and corruption in the system, among others. A majority of studies reveal several inefficiencies in the system, but there are some states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal that have reformed the system over a period of time and made it more efficient. However, a small amount of literature supports the claim of efficient functioning of the PDS in India. Problems like overcharging on PDS grains, bogus ration cards, ghost ration cards, black marketing of PDS foodgrains, inclusion errors, exclusion errors, poor quality of foodgrains, less entitlement of foodgrains, delay in foodgrain supply, infrequent opening of fair price shops (FPSs) and many other problems have been found in the PDS in states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat (Shankar 2004; Swaminathan 1995; Deb 2009).

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Updated On : 2nd Feb, 2021

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