This paper examines the level and composition of food availability, the role of public food distribution system (PFDS) in modifying the availability and consumption, and assesses the adequacy of overall consumption in relation to nutritional requirement. The PFDS appears to be increasingly assisting some special categories who are either urban or urban-like rural residents. While average per capita food and calorie intakes are declining. the existing level of per capita consumption seems to be consistent with defined calorie intake norm. However, distribution of food and calorie intake reveals widespread undernutrition in the vast segment of the population. Policies aiming to alleviate undernutrition should be commodity and target group specific and would have to be based on proper understanding of the food preference patterns of the classes of people.


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