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Is Targeting the Poor a Penalty on the Food Insecure? Poverty and Food Insecurity in India


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  • M. H. Suryanarayana
  • Dimitri Silva


This paper seeks to verify the hypothesis that the set of food insecure is larger than the set of poor in India. Any attempt to reform safety nets like a food distribution programme by targeting it only to the latter would penalize those who are non-poor but food insecure. Towards this end, the paper attempts to: exemplify the issue with reference to measures and criteria for identifying the poor and food insecure; to estimate the incidence of poverty and food insecurity at the national and state levels; and to examine how far their magnitudes tally across states. This limited exercise shows that aggregate estimates of poverty and food insecurity broadly tally at the national level and for several states. The targeted public distribution system covers the majority of the food insecure who are poor, but excludes those sections/regions whose consumption patterns have changed by choice. This calls not for any income transfer but, if at all, for nutrition education programmes to influence consumer choice.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities.

Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 89-107

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Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:8:y:2007:i:1:p:89-107

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Keywords: Food insecurity; Poverty; Safety nets; Consumption patterns; Measures; India;


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Cited by:
  1. M.H. Suryanarayana, 2011. "Policies for the Poor: Verifying the Information Base," Journal of Quantitative Economics, The Indian Econometric Society, vol. 9(1), pages 73-88.
  2. M.H. Suryanarayana, 2008. "Agflation and the PDS - Some Issues," Development Economics Working Papers 22351, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  3. M.H. Suryanarayana, 2008. "Inculusive growth: What is so exclusive about it?," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2008-019, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  4. M.H. Suryanarayana & Dimitri Silva, 2008. "Poverty and food insecurity in India: A Disaggregated regional profile," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2008-005, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  5. Durgesh C. Pathak & Srijit Mishra, 2011. "Poverty estimates in India: Old and new methods, 2004-05," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2011-015, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
  6. repec:qld:uq2004:508 is not listed on IDEAS


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