Bihar's public distribution system used to be one of the worst in India, but the system has improved significantly from 2011 onwards. The National Food Security Act, backed early on by the political leadership, enabled the state to include the bulk of the rural population in this improved system. However, there is still a long way to go in ensuring that the system is reliable, transparent and corruption-free.

This paper takes a look at regional patterns of human and child deprivation in India, based on district-level data. It presents and compares two simple summary indices of living conditions at the district level: a standard "human development index" and a variant of it focusing specifically on children.

Contrary to a common belief that India’s public distribution system is irreparably dysfunctional, a nine-state survey of the pds finds that the respondents received 84-88% of their full entitlement. The implicit subsidy for households below the poverty line from pds foodgrains alone is roughly equivalent, in many states, to a week’s nrega wages every month. The revival of the pds can be traced, in large part, to a renewed political interest which manifests itself in state initiatives such as expanded coverage, reduced prices, computerisation of stock management, etc.

This paper estimates the proportion of grain diverted from the public distribution system to the open market in the past decade by matching official offtake figures with household purchase reported by the National Sample Survey. At the all-India level, diversion of pds grain remains a serious issue; however there are interesting contrasts at the state level.

This article documents and then examines the various benefi ts that, it is claimed, will fl ow from linking the Unique Identity number with the public distribution system and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. It fi lters the unfounded claims, which arise from a poor understanding of how the PDS and NREGS function, from the genuine ones.

This policy brief aims at: familiarizing you with the main provisions of the NREGA; providing a few glimpses of NREGA implementation from the states; highlighting some of the weak aspects of NREGA; and
suggesting how you, as a Member of Parliament, can intervene to improve things.

This paper explores the possibility of a simple method for the identification of households eligible for social assistance. In exploring alternative approaches for identifying a

The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which entitles rural households to 100 days of casual employment on public works at the statutory minimum wage, contains special provisions to ensure full participation of women. This paper, based on fieldwork in six states in 2008, examines the socio-economic consequences of the nrega for women workers.

This article attempts to flag some of the issues that are likely to come up in the debate on the Right to Food Act in the coming months. It is important to ensure that this debate focuses on the substantive issues. In the run-up to the enactment of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the debate was somewhat derailed by a loud anti-NREGA lobby, particularly vocal in the business press.

Once covered with lush teak forests, Pati block in Badwani district of Madhya Pradesh now has a depressing lunar landscape of denuded hills, where only subsistence agriculture is possible. Most rural households there survive on wage labour and seasonal migration.