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

Publisher: Journal of Human Development

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.

Author(s): M.H. Suryanarayana, Dimitri Silva | Views(470)

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