India’s Public Distribution System: A Panel Data Analysis of Targeting, Access and Performance

Prabir Kumar Ghosh, National Council of Applied Economic Research

The paper addresses the targeting efficiency of Public Distribution System (PDS) and the role of income change in shaping usage of PDS at the household level using two rounds of data from India Human Development Survey (IHDS). Expansion of PDS through the National Food Security Act may be less than effective if it is plagued by elite capture. While our preliminary results show that the poor have increased access to PDS grains but we also find that upper income households have also increased their access to PDS grains. However, not all poor households have equal access to PDS grains; only about half the households with income of Rs. 25000 or less have access to BPL card. Whether this exclusion is evenly distributed or whether it is located within most disadvantaged sections of the society – the least connected households – will be examined using IHDS panel data.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity