Events of The IGC-BMGF
Patna, 3 January. The International Growth Centre (IGC) Bihar Programme organized a dissemination workshop on Is Bihar the New Poster Boy for PDS Reforms at ADRI today. Mr. Chinmaya Kumar of University of Chicago presented the findings of the research project. Mr. Chinmaya said that the Food security remains a challenge today in Bihar. He said that Bihar has made remarkable progress in improving the supply of food grains to the fair price shops which has resulted in reduction in leakage over the years. For instance, in 2000s the leakage used to be around 90% but that has come down to 30-40%. While this reduction is commendable, the current level of leakage is still unacceptably high. This is quite apparent if one compares the level of leakages prevalent in other states that have implemented similar reforms. For instance, according to a study by Jean Dreze, the leakage in PDS in Jharkhand is only 7%.
In his presentation, Mr. Chinmaya Kumar presented findings from a baseline survey in four districts of Gaya, Munger, Saharsa and Sitamarhi in 20 blocks of 260 villages. He presented estimates of three types of leakages: Month skipping, underselling, overpricing. The results showed that the households reported receiving ration only 8 months in a year and this phenomenon of month skipping is a big source of leakage – i.e. grains not distributed every third month. There seems to be considerable variation in leakage across month, village, and within village. He also showed that beneficiaries do not seem to have a reliable way of finding out about arrival of grains — 90% of them rely on the dealer or other villagers.
He suggested that demand-side reforms like the need to open an independent channel with the end beneficiaries, providing them relevant information directly and receiving feedback on a regular basis for making concurrent evaluation and policy changes be introduced.
Mr Prashant Yadav, Mr. Sushil Kumar, Ms. Ranjana and Mr. Manoj Shrivastava participated in the discussions along with Dr, Shaibal Gupta, Professor Prabhat P Ghosh and Dr. Sunita Lall of ADRI. Earlier, Dr. Basudeo Guha-Khasnobis, Director, Centre for Health Policy at ADRI introduced the speaker and Mr. Kumar Das of IGC proposed the vote of thanks.