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

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Portability in the Public Distribution System

The public distribution system in India is a major instrument for achieving the goal of “Zero Hunger.” Despite the vast amounts of resources spent, the PDS suffers from several inefficiencies largely attributable to the monopoly of agents involved in the last-mile delivery of grains. To address this issue, several state governments in India have started implementing a novel intervention called portability. This intervention offers beneficiaries the choice of when and where they can avail of their food entitlements while the government controls what and how much. We use detailed and large-scale programme data from Andhra Pradesh to analyse the uptake of portability among the beneficiaries and identify its underlying drivers.

India’s Green Revolution and Beyond

The widely accepted “success” of India’s green revolution in making the country self-sufficient in foodgrains has made it the model for all agrarian futures envisioned in the country. This article argues that this vision of the future is based on a selective understanding of India’s agrarian past as backward and needing redemption. There is inadequate evidence to support the claim that India was food-insecure in the 1960s. Moreover, evidence suggests that India’s food and nutritional insecurities today are the aftermath of the green revolution strategy promoted since the 1960s. This article is a small contribution towards comprehensively outlining that past so that we can begin to imagine a new vision for India’s agrarian future.

Food-For-Work : Role for Panchayats

Two questions need to be sorted out with regard to the organisation of the food-for-work programme announced by the centre. One, financial and the other, administrative. Obviously the central government has made up its mind to bear the full cost of releasing food stocks for the programme. Under the Sampoorn Gramin Rozgar Yojana (SGRY) 50 lakh tons of foodgrains worth Rs 5,000 crore are to be made available to the states annually. Whether or not the distribution, free of cost, of 50 lakh tons of foodgrains to the states would be shown by the centre as part of its budget has not been made clear. The question whether it should be shown as such is itself open to some dispute, for the reason that the foodgrains to be distributed will be part of the food stocks already held by the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The question would arise only with regard to the cash component of Rs 5,000 crore to be handed over to the states for implementing the scheme.

Fod For The Poor : Rs 30 Per Kg

I n the view of the prime minister’s economic advisory council, according to the note on ‘Economic Reforms: A Medium Term Perspective’ prepared for the council’s meeting this week, “the present [foodgrain] procurement policy should be drastically revised so as to limit government purchases only for preventing sharp fall in prices (i e to support prices) instead of government buying all that is offered at predetermined ‘fair’ prices”. Less than a fortnight before the council’s meeting, the chief ministers of Punjab and Haryana had rushed to Delhi to meet the prime minister and seek an assurance from him that there would be no cut in the price at which the Food Corporation of India (FCI) would buy wheat in the forthcoming rabi marketing season. On his return from the capital, the Punjab chief minister told newspersons in Chandigarh that he and his Haryana counterpart had indeed got the assurance they had sought from the prime minister.
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