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The Political Economy of Hunger: Volume 2: Famine Prevention$
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Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198286363

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198286363.001.0001

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Famine Prevention in India

Famine Prevention in India

(p.13) 1 Famine Prevention in India
The Political Economy of Hunger: Volume 2: Famine Prevention

Jean Drèze (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Though one may mistakenly attribute India's impressive recent record of famine prevention to a steady improvement in food production or to the overall evolution of the economy, this chapter argues that it is the relief system that played the crucial role in averting large-scale famine. The two components of a reliable famine prevention system are: an intelligent and well-planned interventionist procedure and a mechanism ensuring an early step by the authorities. For India, both were appreciably influenced first by the emergence of Famine Codes and then by the country's attainment of independence. Providing case studies, the chapter underscores the urgency of recreating the lost entitlements through relief and wage-based employment, and spotlights the roles of public pressure, cash relief, and public works.

Keywords:   famine relief system, Famine Commissions, Famine Codes, Maharashtra drought

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