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Changes in food consumption and the implications for food security and undernourishment: India in the 1990s


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Ray, R 2007 , 'Changes in food consumption and the implications for food security and undernourishment: India in the 1990s' , Development and Change, vol. 38, no. 2 , pp. 321-343 , doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2007.00414.x.

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This article examines the changes in the nature and quantity of food consumption
in India during the reform decade of the 1990s, and analyses their
implications for calorie intake and undernourishment. The study documents
the decline in cereal consumption, especially in the urban areas, and provides
evidence that suggests an increase in the prevalence of undernourishment
over the period 1987/88 to 2001/2002. The results also point to a significant
number of households, even in the top expenditure decile, suffering
from undernourishment. This calls for a reassessment of the current strategy
of directing the Targetted Public Distribution System (TPDS) exclusively at
households ‘below the poverty line’. This study shows that, both as a source
of subsidized calories and as a poverty reducing instrument, the PDS is of
much greater importance to female-headed households than it is to the rest
of the population. Another important result is that, notwithstanding the sharp
decline in their expenditure share during the 1990s, rice andwheat continue to
provide the dominant share of calories, especially for the rural poor. The overall
message is that, especially in a period of significant economic change, one
needs to go beyond the standard expenditure-based money metric measures
to assess the changes in the living standards of households.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Ray, R
Journal or Publication Title: Development and Change
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
ISSN: 0012-155X
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2007.00414.x
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