Social Safety Nets for Food and Nutritional Security in India

by Sudha Narayanan and Nicolas Gerber

This paper brings together existing literature on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNRGEA) and the Public Distribution System (PDS) in India, offering a narrative

review of the evidence on impacts on food security, health and nu
trition of beneficiaries. Bothprograms operate on a large scale and have the capacity to impact the factors leading toundernutrition. It is evident that despite the deficiencies in implementation, both the MGNREGA andthe PDS are inclusive and reach the
poor and the marginalized who are likely to also experience
greater undernutrition and poor health. Data challenges have however prevented researchers from conducting studies that assess the ultimate impact of these two large – scale programs on health and nutrition. The evidence that exists suggests largely positive impacts indicating a clear potential tomake these programs more nutrition sensitive not just by incorporating elements that would
explicitly address nutritional concerns but also by directing sp
ecific attention to innovations thatstrengthen critical complementarities and synergies that exist between the two programs.

The paper can be read or downloaded here.




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