Issue Date: Aug 18, 2011
“Kemathi accho” translates to “ how are you” in Odiya, said one of the local volunteers to me as our train made its way from Raipur in Chhattisgarh to Odisha through dried up riverbeds and parched lands. A summer survey to study the ground realities of the Public Distribution System (PDS), initiated by IIT Delhi and coordinated by development economists Jean Dreze and Reetika Khera, was being conducted in nine states of the country. I was part of the survey (see: Selected Findings) and was deputed to Odisha, a place not to my liking, worsened further by my alienation from the language. Along with me were people working on food security issues in India, who firmly believed that India’s PDS was essential for the survival of many of its citizens.
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