Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia
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Sriniketh Nagavarapu

Assistant Professor, Department of Economics and Center for Environmental Studies
Summer Fellow 2013


Project Title: Reforming the Public Distribution System

The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is India's flagship program to improve food security, but the goals of the program are undermined by large-scale leakage of the goods -- grain, sugar, and kerosene -- through black market sales. In our project, we evaluate a reform in which a NGO delivered TPDS goods to a small fraction of beneficiaries in Punjab over the course of the June 2010-July 2012 period. Preliminary results from our first round of data collection indicate that take-up improved significantly and that women's health may have improved as well -- though these health improvements were concentrated in households where women may have more decision-making authority. With the generous support of the Brown-India Initiative, we will conduct a second round of data collection on the same households and examine (1) how household demand responded to the improvements in TPDS supply; (2) whether the NGO households' temporary experience with effective public service delivery altered the demands they make of their normal TPDS delivery agents; and (3) the determinants of women's health outcomes during and after the NGO episode.