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India's Public Distribution System: Utilisation and Impact


  • Reetika Khera


This article studies the effectiveness of India's Public Distribution System (PDS) as a food security intervention, using field survey data collected by the author in Rajasthan. Utilisation is low, and many households purchase wheat from the market at higher prices before exhausting PDS quotas. This 'puzzle of under-purchase' is analysed by extending the dual-pricing model to account for supply-side (for example, diversion) and demand-side (for example, transaction costs) constraints. Primary and secondary data as well as field observations suggest that under-purchase is mainly due to supply constraints. I also find that the PDS affects the composition (away from more nutritious 'coarse cereals'), rather than level, of cereal consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Reetika Khera, 2011. "India's Public Distribution System: Utilisation and Impact," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(7), pages 1038-1060.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:7:p:1038-1060
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2010.506917

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefano Paternostro & Anand Rajaram & Erwin R. Tiongson, 2007. "How Does the Composition of Public Spending Matter?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(1), pages 47-82.
    2. Jayne, T. S. & Govereh, J. & Mwanaumo, A. & Nyoro, J. K. & Chapoto, A., 2002. "False Promise or False Premise? The Experience of Food and Input Market Reform in Eastern and Southern Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 1967-1985, November.
    3. Jung, Hong-Sang & Thorbecke, Erik, 2003. "The impact of public education expenditure on human capital, growth, and poverty in Tanzania and Zambia: a general equilibrium approach," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 701-725, November.
    4. Dominique van de Walle, 2003. "Are Returns to Investment Lower for the Poor? Human and Physical Capital Interactions in Rural Vietnam," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 636-653, November.
    5. Lopez, Ramon & Galinato, Gregmar I., 2007. "Should governments stop subsidies to private goods? Evidence from rural Latin America," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1071-1094, June.
    6. Teferra, Mengistu, 2002. "Power sector reforms in Ethiopia: options for promoting local investments in rural electrification," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(11-12), pages 967-975, September.
    7. Wolde-Ghiorgis, W., 2002. "Renewable energy for rural development in Ethiopia: the case for new energy policies and institutional reform," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(11-12), pages 1095-1105, September.
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