Enhancing Nutrition Security via India’s National Food Security Act: Using an axe instead of a scalpel?

Research Seminars
Academic Areas Economics and Public Policy
Sonalde Desai, Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland and Senior Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi
February 13, 2015 | 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM | Friday
AC 2 MLT, Hyderabad , Hyderabad, India
Open to Public
In September 2013, India passed a historic National Food Security Act. This paper examines the potential impact of two central pillars of this act - expansion on Public Distribution System and strengthening of Integrated Child Development Schemes – on child nutrition. Using data from India Human Development Survey of 2011-12 this paper shows that access to subsidized grains via PDS is not related to improved child nutrition while ICDS seems to be related to lower child undernutrition but has a limited reach in spite of the universalization of the program. The paper suggests that a tiered strategy in dealing with child under nutrition that starts with the identification of undernourished children and districts and follow with different strategies for dealing with severe acute malnutrition followed by a focus on moderate malnutrition could be more effective than the existing focus on cereal distribution rooted in NFSA.