PDS rice and wheat consumption has doubled in rural India: NSSO

Reforms in public distribution system and increase in number of people covered by it could be the reasons, say experts

By Jitendra
Published: Wednesday 02 July 2014


The latest data released by the government on household consumption patterns shows a decline in rice consumption and increase in consumption of wheat since 2004. In the meantime, consumption of rice and wheat made available through the public distribution system (PDS) has increased significantly, according to the survey report of National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) on household consumption of goods and services, released on June 30.

In rural India, consumption of both rice and wheat from PDS has increased by more than double. In urban India also there has been a significant increase in consumption of cereals availed through PDS, says the report.

Experts say this increase could be because of PDS reforms, decreasing prices of cereals under different schemes in a number of states and increase in coverage of population entitled to subsidised foodgrains.

“It (the increase) is bound to happen,” says Deepa Sinha, a Delhi-based right to food activist. “We have seen PDS reforms since 2007 in number of northern Indian states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The south Indian states have already been doing well. Many states like Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal have been providing cheap grains to more than the number of people entitled as per the Central list,” adds Sinha.

Per capita qty(kg) consumed in 30 days
Cereal Year Rural Urban
Rice PDS 2004-05 0.84 0.53
  2011-12 1.67 0.88
wheat PDS 2004-05 0.31 0.17
  2011-12 0.74 0.41
Rice (all sources) 2004-05 6.38 4.71
  2011-12 5.98 4.49
wheat (all sources) 2004-05 2004-05 4.19 4.36
  2011-12 4.29 4.01
Jowar 2004-05 0.43 0.22
  2011-12 0.2 0.13
Bajra 2004-05 0.39 0.11
  2011-12 0.24 0.08
Maize 2004-05 0.31 0.025
  2011-12 0.13 0.014

As per the report, a fall in consumption of rice by 0.4 kg rice per person per month has been noticed in rural India over the past seven years. Rice consumption in rural India was 5.98 kg in 2011-12 compared to 6.38 kg in 2004-05. In the meantime, consumption of wheat rose slightly by 0.1 kg.

Consumption of lesser cereals (coarse grains) like jowar (sorghum), bajra (pearl millet) and maize has also declined sharply when compared to staples like rice and wheat. 

Consumption of pulses and pulse products has risen in both rural and urban India. Their consumption rose by 77-78 gm per person per month between 2004-05 and 2011-12—from 705 gm per month to 783 gm in the rural sector and from 824 gm to 901 gm in the urban sector.

The report also shows rural India consumes more fish than urban India. The consumption figure is 266gm for rural India and 252gm for urban India.

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