Public Distribution System and Food  

Abstract Category: Arts
Course / Degree: D.Phil in Development Studies
Institution / University: University of Sussex, United Kingdom
Published in: 2003

Thesis Abstract / Summary:

The history of political economy of food and food security as a public policy of contemporary times in India is invariably open to diverse, sometimes contradictory interpretations, depending on the outlook, approach, and ideology of the research scholars and perspective of the policy makers. Perhaps, this is not true in case of Kalahandi district of Orissa--one of the poorest, most underdeveloped districts of India despite nature’s generosity. Everybody is in agreement that Kalahandi district exports food and the per-capita availability food is higher than the other districts of Orissa.Yet, paradoxically, even in a good harvest year, malnutrition is endemic in Kalahandi.Reports of Starvation death from the district and the State of Orissa, is a permanent coverage of newspaper column’s each year creating little doubt that Public Distribution System (PDS) has failed by and large to provide food security to the people.

The PDS has crossed 62 years of working as a public policy in a welfare state like India but nevertheless the problem of hunger, starvation, malnutrition, poverty and food security of the poor and vulnerable sections of the society by cheap food is in question. Nevertheless, any time limit fixed for combating food insecurity and to solve all the above problems, which are rampant in the state of Orissa and Kalahandi in particular. The PDS that started earlier to solve the above problems by maintaining price stability of food and food products in the market and at the same time to provide food security to the poor through Fair Price Shops (FPS) that failed to provide the umbrella of food security to the poor now. Because, the policy of PDS is regarded as the financial burden for the Central Government, so reduction of food subsidy became the motive over welfare motives that led the government to target the system with less food subsidy in budgetary allocation. In this way, the government is trying to dismantle the system forgetting the problem of food insecurity.

Even after more than five decades of Green Revolution, with the multiplication of food production, the goal of food security remains elusive. The PDS is influenced by the policies of government regarding production, procurement, storage, buffer stock, pricing and subsidies and the distribution mechanism of food grains. The current study focuses on the distributional aspect of PDS while taking into consideration of policies relating to the above factors that influence PDS.

The subject matter of this monograph is about the “Public Distribution System and Food Security in Orissa and Kalahandi” in particular. It attempts to understand the causes for the failure of PDS to deliver food to the poor and vulnerable section of the population in Kalahandi district where production of food crops is higher than the other districts of Orissa. In case of the state of Orissa, FCI godowns are over flowing with stocks (three times more than buffer stock norms) and many times rotting but majority of people of the state are food insecure.

The dissertation argues for the efficacy of universal distribution of food based on the requirements of the consumers irrespective of poor and rich.

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Submission Details: Thesis Abstract submitted by Bhabani Shankar Nayak from United Kingdom on 14-Nov-2003 19:38.
Abstract has been viewed 4911 times (since 7 Mar 2010).

Bhabani Shankar Nayak Contact Details: Email: bsn21@sussex.ac.uk

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