In India, diets are based on staple crops, such as wheat and rice which meet a large share of energy but dont provide adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, resulting in hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiency. Pulses and millets are rich sources of both macronutrients and micronutrients. The Government of India has realised the potential of these orphan crops in bringing nutritional security. The National Food Security Act (2013) provides for inclusion of millets in the public distribution system (PDS).The state of Tamil Nadu started distribution of pulses under the PDS in 2007; Karnataka started distribution of millets in 2014. This paper examines whether procurement and distribution of pulses and millets through PDS has led to an increase in consumption of pulses and millets.
Analysing two rounds of National Sample Survey data and primary data along with regression analysis.
We find from the NSS data, that the consumption of pulses has increased (20% for red gram and 56% for Black gram) in rural areas of Tamil Nadu; while that of millets has decreased in Karnataka. Regression analysis shows that access to PDS significantly improves consumption of pulses while it has no significant impact on consumption of millets. Given that inclusion of millets in the PDS is recent, evidence from primary survey in Karnataka reveals increase in its consumption.
The increase in consumption of pulses and millets clearly indicates that support for production, procurement and distribution of nutrient dense crops by the state can help in increasing their consumption.