Poorest households most in need often left out of PDS, finds study -Jagriti Chandra
Analysis of NFHS-4 data finds skewed distribution of BPL cards that provide access to various welfare schemes, including food ration
A first-ever study on the linkages between the availability of PDS (public distribution system) ration and the prevalence of malnutrition finds that the poorest households most in need of free food grains are often left out of the scheme.
The study is authored by Basant K. Panda, Sanjay K. Mohanty, Itishree Nayak and Vishal Dev Shastri from the International Institute of Population Science in Mumbai, and Subramanian S.V. from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. Titled ‘Malnutrition and poverty in India: does the use of public distribution system matter?’, the study was published in BioMed Central’s Nutrition Journal last week.
The study uses National Family Health Survey-4 data for its analysis and finds skewed distribution of BPL (below poverty line) cards used to provide access to various welfare schemes, including food ration. According to the study, an estimated 15% of the households are classified as ‘real poor’ (economically poor and have a welfare card); 16% as ‘excluded poor’ (economically poor but don’t have a BPL card); 23% as privileged ‘non-poor’ (economically non-poor but have welfare card); and 46% as ‘non-poor’ (economically non-poor who don’t have a welfare card).
Out of the total households, 57% of poor households with PDS and without PDS had at least one stunted child, while 43% among non-poor households with PDS and 36% among the non-poor households without PDS had at least one stunted child.
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The Hindu, 7 October, 2020, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/poorest-households-most-in-need-often-left-out-of-pds-finds-study/article32796354.ece?homepage=true