Right to food


My publications on Tamil Nadu's public services, right to food and other issues.

List of publications


I had a prolonged debate on school feeding with a friend recently.  I pointed out that India’s school feeding does not have any ‘means testing’ and covers all children.  If India with its resource base and a large school population can do it, most other countries afford it.  He on the other hand pointed out that USA (read the richest nation in the world) uses means testing to filter children out since it would be infeasible to feed all children (read no other country can then afford it). Is it feasible since India does it? Or is it not feasible […]

Resource Constraint


This is a reasonably good list of books and articles by my favourite economist – Jean Dreze. These works are ‘academic’ and do not include some of his most interesting works including his diary as a squatter in London, and a set of essays edited by him, Bela Bhatia and Kathy Kelly on the Iraq peace camp. Agarwal, Bina, S. L. Rao, Jean Drèze, Patricia Uberoi, and National Council of Applied Economic Research. The Family in Public Policy : Fallacious Assumptions and Gender Implications. Golden Jubilee Seminar Series. Vol. 9th lecture. New Delhi: National Council of Applied Economic Research, 2000. […]

Books and articles by Jean Dreze: A detailed bibliography (downloadable)



The books and articles here cover many of the key debates on the right to food. I’ve included some reviews in the book review section. My other bibliographies can be seen under the bibliography category. Alston, Philip, and K. Tomaševski. The Right to Food. International Studies in Human Rights. Boston; Utrecht: M. Nijhoff; Stichting Studie- en Informatiecentrum Mensenrechten, 1984. Boerma, Addeke Hendrik, and Colin Mackenzie. A Right to Food : A Selection from Speeches. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1976. Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. Substantive Issues Arising in the Implementation of the International […]

Bibliography: Right to food (downloadable)


This is an evolving collection of books and articles that approach hunger from different perspectives.  As of now, it contains some interesting approaches from economic, cultural, geographical, anthropological, gender and other perspectives.  There are a few on hunger in developed countries, specially USA.   Agarwal, Bina, S. L. Rao, Jean Drèze, Patricia Uberoi, and National Council of Applied Economic Research. The Family in Public Policy : Fallacious Assumptions and Gender Implications. Golden Jubilee Seminar Series. Vol. 9th lecture. New Delhi: National Council of Applied Economic Research, 2000. America’s Second Harvest. “Hunger in America 2001.” (2001). Ann Nichols-Casebolt. “Making Ends Meet: Food […]

Bibliography on Hunger (downloadable)


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In this note I have tried to put together some lessons that I learned from the Right to Food Campaign. I have drawn these notes from the activities of the campaign, the discussions we have had, the materials we have prepared for the public interest litigation and for the campaign. The campaign deals with questions that are similar to what we are going to deal with in the seminar viz. ensuring a hunger free India. I have drawn extensively on the materials we have prepared in the campaign, and specially on discussions with the ‘support group’. I would like to […]

Notes from the Right to Food Campaign



I wish to share with you a message of hope in this anniversary issue of Humanscape. As a recent entrant in the world of social action, I have been asking myself whether people’s campaigns are effective at all. Are they capable of bringing the concerns of people into the political centre-stage and affect the way government works? In two short years of my association with such campaigns, I have gained hope that a well-organised and sustained campaign can indeed bring meaningful changes to the lives of poor and marginalized people. I have drawn inspiration from campaigns on several issues; but […]

A Message of Hope


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“God bless mummy, god bless daddy, god bless teacher who will teach us, and make them happy”.  Standing in a perfect circle, at 10 am sharp, children chanted this prayer to start their activities of the day at the anganwadi. In the next five hours they would learn through play, have one nourishing meal, take a noon nap, and return home to their mother, who had the comfort of having her child taken care of for a significant part of her working day. Immediately after the prayer was a round of physical exercises, accompanied by poems created for the purpose. […]

An anganwadi in Tamil Nadu


I wrote this article in 2003 when mid-day meal scheme was resisted by most states despite a direction from the Supreme Court of India directing them to implement it. Sir Humphrey of ‘Yes Minister’ fame would be proud of our babus. Once they are determined to do or not to do something, they act creatively steer history their way. Recently, the Supreme Court ordered all the states and UTs to implement the mid-day meal scheme in all government and government aided primary schools and thus unleashed their creativity again. Saying, “Yes your honour” on one hand most States continue to […]

Yes your honour



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This article was written after a visit to Karnataka with Muthappa and Saraswathi. The mid-day meal scheme had recently started in the State following Supreme Court directions and public pressure. I wrote this article with Jean Dreze and it was published in Hindustan Times. Ten months have passed since the Supreme Court directed the state governments to introduce cooked mid-day meals in all primary schools within six months. Some state governments are implementing the order, but many others are trying to buy time, plead for central funding, or even reverse the order. The court seems determined to enforce the order, […]

Hunger in the Classroom