|Bulletin n. 1/2017
|Rescaling the public distribution system in India: Mapping the uneven transition from spatialization to territorialization
|in Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy , Volume 35, Issue 1, Special issue: State rescaling and subnational policy-making and governance in China and India, February , 2017 , 113-129
|The Indian public distribution system operates like a huge machine transferring food grains procured by the federal government from surplus regions at a guaranteed price towards deficit areas where grains are sold at subsidized prices to poor households. The role of India’s regional States has become more significant in recent years with ‘decentralized procurement’. However, the national state has not become a minor actor, sandwiched between the globalization of food flows and decentralization policies. A process of state spatial rescaling is indeed taking place, although limited in scope and uneven across space. Before the 1990s, despite the uncontested power of the central state, sizeable differentiation already existed between States or ‘food zones’, in procurement as well as distribution. Recent rescaling of the policy has given States greater scope for policy innovation, via a ‘territorialization’ process. Nevertheless, despite significant rescaling to the subnational scale and the importance of ‘localization’ and ‘globalization’ trends, the national scale maintains a prominent position in the overall policy framework.