Crossing Internal Boundaries: Political and Physical Access to the Public Distribution System in India

  • Ian MacAuslan
Part of the Rethinking International Development Series book series (RID)


Although migration is a social protection strategy that allows actors to diversify risk and escape hazards (Stark, 1991), migrants also have migration-related vulnerabilities that imply migrant-related needs for social protection (Rafique and Rogaly, 2003; Sabates-Wheeler and Waite, 2003). As many chapters in this book demonstrate, moreover, migrants often face disadvantages in accessing social protection from governments, non-governmental organizations, markets or individuals. Very often, therefore, migration makes people more vulnerable and less well protected.


Access Structure Social Protection Identity Document Migrant Household Slum Dweller 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Census of India (2001) ‘Migration data, data highlights I’, Census of India, Delhi.Google Scholar
  2. Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (1993) ‘Public distribution system: access of the poor — a case study of a jhuggi jhompri cluster’, Management in Government, January/March, 295–317.Google Scholar
  3. Deshingkar, P. (2006) ‘Internal Migration, Poverty and Development in Asia’, paper prepared for the Asia 2015 Conference, IDS and ODI, London.Google Scholar
  4. Deshingkar, P. and Start, D. (2003) ‘Seasonal Migration for Livelihoods in India: Coping, Accumulation and Exclusion’, ODI Working Paper 220 (London: Overseas Development Institute).Google Scholar
  5. Edelman, B. and Mitra, A. (2006) ‘Slum dwellers’ access to basic amenities: the role of political contact, its determinants, and adverse effects’, RURDS, 18 (1), 25–40.Google Scholar
  6. Gonsalves, C., Ramesh Kumar, P. and Srivastava, A. (eds) (2005) Right to Food (Delhi: Human Rights Law Network).Google Scholar
  7. Government of Delhi (2007) Department of Food Supplies, Frequently Asked Questions, Ration card, available at: (accessed 11 May 2007).Google Scholar
  8. Harriss, J. (2005) ‘Political participation, representation, and the urban poor: findings from research in Delhi’, Economic and Political Weekly, 12 March, 1041–1054.Google Scholar
  9. Holzmann, R., Koettl, J. and Chernetsky, T. (2005) ‘Portability Regimes of Pension and Health Care Benefits for International Migrants: An Analysis of Issues and Good Practices’, Social Protection Discussion Paper 519 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank).Google Scholar
  10. Jha, S., Rao, V. and Woolcock, M. (2005) ‘Governance in the Gullies: Democratic Responsiveness and Leadership in Delhi’s Slums’, Q-Squared Working Paper 5 (Toronto: University of Toronto, Centre for International Studies).Google Scholar
  11. Kabeer, N. (2002) ‘Citizenship and the Boundaries of the Acknowledged Community: Identity, Affiliation, and Exclusion’, IDS Working Paper 171 (Brighton: Institute of Development Studies).Google Scholar
  12. Keeley, J. and Scoones, I. (2003) Understanding Environmental Policy Processes: Cases from Africa (London: Earthscan).Google Scholar
  13. Kochar, A. (2005) ‘Can Targeted Food Programs Improve Nutrition? An Empirical Analysis of India’s Public Distribution System’, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 54 (1), 203–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lipsky, M. (1980) Street-Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services (New York: Russell Sage Foundation).Google Scholar
  15. Long, N. (1989) ‘Introduction: the Raison d’etre for studying rural development interface’, in Long, N. et al. (eds) Encounters at the Interface: A Perspective on Social Discontinuities in Rural Development (Wageningen: Agricultural University of Wageningen).Google Scholar
  16. MacAuslan, I. (2007) ‘Migrants’ Access to Social Protection: A Case Study of the Public Distribution System in Delhi’, unpublished MPhil Dissertation, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.Google Scholar
  17. Mooij, J. (1999) Food Policy and the Indian State: The Public Distribution System in South India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  18. Mooij, J. (2000) ‘Food and Power: The Political Economy of the Public Distribution System in Bihar’, Indo-Dutch Programmes on Alternatives in Development, Occasional Papers and Reprints 2000–1 (New Delhi: IDPAD).Google Scholar
  19. NSSO (2007) ‘Public Distribution System and Other Sources of Household Consumption’, Report 510, Government of India National Sample Survey Organisation.Google Scholar
  20. Pande, S. (2007) ‘Social Accountability and the PDS Campaign: The Delhi Experience’, March 2007 draft, cited with permission from author.Google Scholar
  21. Parivartan (2004) ‘Report of Jan Sunwai on Public Distribution System’, unpublished report.Google Scholar
  22. Radhakrishna, R., Subbarao K., Indrakant, S. and Ravi, C. (1997) ‘India’s Public Distribution System: A National and International Perspective’, World Bank Discussion Paper 380 (Washington, D.C.: The World Bank).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rafique, A. and Rogaly, B. (2003) ‘Internal Seasonal Migration, Livelihoods and Vulnerability in India: A Case Study’, paper prepared for the regional conference on Migration, Development and Pro-Poor Policy choices in Asia, June 2003, DFID/RMMRU, Dhaka.Google Scholar
  24. Rogaly, B., Biswas, J., Coppard, D., Rafique, A., Rana, K. and Sengupta, A. (2001) ‘Seasonal migration, social change and migrants’ rights, lessons from West Bengal’, Economic and Political Weekly, 8 December 2001.Google Scholar
  25. Sabates-Wheeler, R. and MacAuslan, I. (2007) ‘Migration and social protection: exposing issues of access’, Development, 50 (4): 26–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sabates-Wheeler, R. and Waite, M. (2003) ‘Migration and Social Protection: A concept paper’, DRC Migration, Globalisation, and Poverty Working Paper T2 (Brighton: University of Sussex).Google Scholar
  27. Schaffer, B. (1973) ‘Improving Access to Public Services’, IDS Discussion Paper 23 (Brighton: University of Sussex).Google Scholar
  28. Schaffer, B. (1986) ‘Access: A Theory of Corruption and Bureaucracy,’ Public Administration and Development, 6 (4), 357–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schaffer, B. and Lamb, G. (1974) ‘Exit, Voice and Access’, Social Science Information, 13 (6), 73–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schaffer, B. and Wen-Hsien, H. (1975) ‘Distribution and the Theory of Access’, Development and Change, 6 (2), 13–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schlosberg, C. (1999) ‘Immigrant Access to Health Benefits: A Resource Manual’, prepared for The Access Project, Boston, MA and Washington, D.C., The Access Project and the National Health Law Program.Google Scholar
  32. Schwartz, S. (2001) ‘Immigrant Access to Food Stamps: Overcoming Barriers to Participation’, Journal of Poverty, Policy, and Law, September-October, 260–275.Google Scholar
  33. Sen, A. (2000) ‘Social Exclusion: Concept, Application, and Scrutiny’, Social Development Papers No. 1, Office of Environment and Social Development, Asian Development Bank.Google Scholar
  34. Smita (2006) Locked Homes, Empty Schools: The Impact of Distress Seasonal Migration on the Rural Poor (Delhi: America India Foundation).Google Scholar
  35. SNS (2006) Satark Nagrik Sangathan (Delhi: SNS).Google Scholar
  36. Stark, O. (1991) The Migration of Labour (Oxford: Blackwell).Google Scholar
  37. Stephenson, R. and Matthews, Z. (2004) ‘Maternal health-care service use among rural-urban migrants in Mumbai, India’, Asia-Pacific Population Journal, 19 (1), 39–60.Google Scholar
  38. Supreme Court Commissioners (2006) Sixth Report of the Commissioners, available at: Scholar
  39. Swaminathan, M. (2000) Weakening Welfare: The Public Distribution of Food in India (New Delhi: Left Word).Google Scholar
  40. Uvin, P. (2004) Human Rights and Development (Bloomfield: Kumarian).Google Scholar
  41. Zhou, Z. Y. and Wan, G. (2006) ‘The Public Distribution Systems of Food grains and Implications for Food Security: A Comparison of the Experiences of India and China’, UNU-WIDER Research Paper 2006/98, UNU-WIDER.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ian MacAuslan 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian MacAuslan

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations