Deliverance from Hunger: The Public Distribution System in India

By K R Venugopal

Inadequate access to foodgrains has resulted in the poor of India often not having enough to eat--despite the fact that the country is producing enough foodgrains to sustain its entire population. Have policy makers failed those they are supposed to serve? Why does this inequitable situation exist and how can it be remedied? In this timely and thought-provoking study, Venugopal explores the inequities of food distribution and suggests remedies for correcting it. Among his findings, the author finds that those states that did not produce enough foodgrains were better at providing food for the the poor than those states with a surplus. Even those states that receive subsidies from the Union Government through the Public Distribution System (PDS), are not without problems of inefficiency and inequity. Venugopal argues that a major support strategy could be a well managed rural public distribution system, supervised by the people themselves with the involvement of voluntary organizations.