Solution worse than the problem: targeting and the Food Security Bill

The National Food Security Bill (NFSB), tabled in the parliament on 22 December 2011, proposes to divide the households in India into three groups: Priority Households who are eligible to purchase 7 Kg per month of subsidized foodgrains per individual, General population entitled for 3Kg per month of subsidized foodgrains per individual, and General population not entitled for subsidized foodgrains. The proposed relative distributions of three groups in rural and urban areas are given This policy brief introduces the basic arguments given in favour of targeting. Examining these arguments, it shows that the claims made in favour of targeting fail miserably in Indian context. It argues that the evidence and experience disproportionately favour universal access to food.

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