Speaker: Dr. Priya Bhagowalia, Associate Professor, Centre for International Trade and Development, JNU
This study attempts to assess if provision of subsidized food via the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), has improved food security in dry land areas of India. Changes in relative prices may induce a substitution away from inexpensive and calorie rich foods to more expensive foods. We use ICRISAT data from 2010-2012 to examine the impact of rice & wheat subsidies on food security and compare it with equivalent increases in income from any other source. Our results suggest that food subsidies have a small but positive effect on calorie availability of households, but these differ by income group. The subsidy encourages substitution between different food groups, increasing calories from both cereals and expensive sources of calories viz. meat, sugar and oils. The role of agriculture in providing food security is significant as crop production and crop failures both affect calorie availability. We also find that that the in-kind transfer seems to be less effective than equivalent increases in income.