Implementation of the Right to Food in Urban Slums

The Center for Health Law, Ethics, and Technology has begun an empirical study of the implementation of the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Delhi. This investigation seeks to evaluate the performance of the PDS in Delhi’s slums, particularly as it functions for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cardholders, the poorest of India’s poor who are entitled to the greatest amount of subsidization. Through the use of questionnaires, the study will survey twenty to thirty households in each of three to five urban slums in Delhi, in order to assess the gaps and problems in the implementation of the PDS. Specifically, the study seeks to determine whether the shortfalls of the PDS that have been well recorded elsewhere in India are also prevalent in Delhi. These problems include pricing of goods greater than the mandated price, poor availability of goods, few opening hours of the PDS shops, long waits at PDS shops, poor quality of grain, lack of accountability, and lack of redressability of complaints. The Center hopes that this empirical work will fuel further academic investigation of the PDS in urban areas, a previously unstudied area, and that it will contribute to policy development in order to improve the functioning of the PDS overall.