International Development Planning Review

What determines access to subsidised food by the rural poor?: Evidence from India

International Development Planning Review (2009), 31, (3), 263–279.

Abstract

This article examines the targeted public distribution system of food grains in India and looks at the determinants of access to food by the poor in rural areas. Drawing on a large database from central India, we find that remoteness and village size are important in determining whether subsidised food reaches the village. Access to subsidised food by the rural poor is also limited by their status in the caste hierarchy. Households belonging to 'lower' castes have less access to food, and those belonging to aboriginal tribes are even worse off. While malnutrition caused by lack of adequate food is widespread, due to certain policy measures there is little evidence of starvation.

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Asthana, Anand