Liberalization and policies of Food Security: The Indian Experience

Course ID
Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA)
Madhura Swaminathan


In the 1980s and 1990s, in many parts of the world, programmes of food security have come under attack from proponents of orthodox structural adjustment. The two main arguments put forward for reform have been that the policies are too costly and impose a heavy burden of subsidy, and secondly, that they distort prices and hence the functioning of private markets. A third argument is that food policies and the associated subsidy are WTO-incompatible. In this paper, I examine the outcomes of structural adjustment-induced reforms to the major programme for consumer food security, the Public Distribution System or PDS in India. The critical policy change of the 1990s was the introduction of the targeted public distribution system in 1997, a policy of targeting to households below the poverty line (termed BPL), resulting in a means tested policy of food distribution. This paper argues that, first, targeting has led to the large-scale exclusion of genuinely needy persons from the PDS; secondly, targeting has adversely affected the viability of the PDS network, and thirdly, targeted PDS has failed in the regional task, that was performed by the earlier PDS, namely of transferring cereals from surplus to deficit regions of the country.

Corporate Author: Alemayehu Seyoum(Editor) & Ethiopian Economic Association/Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute
Publisher: Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA)
Primary Descriptors:

Food supply

Secondary Descriptor:

Free trade

Geographic Descriptors: Ethiopia
Cataloge Date: 02/27/2013
Broad Subject heading: GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Call Number: 330.963 PRO 2004
Serial Key Title: Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Ethiopian Economy
Publication catagory: International Conference
Content type: EEA Publication
Volume: I
Publication date: 2013-05-27 00:00:00
Forum or Discussion date: 2013-02-27 00:00:00
PDF file:  Madhura Swaminathan_Liberalisation and policies of Food Security.pdf
Place of publication: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Type of material: Book
Current frequency: Annualy
Author: Madhura Swaminathan