Designing for Food Security: Portability and the Expansion of User Freedoms Through the COREPDS in Chhattisgarh, India.

Prashant Rajan, Shweta Chopra, A.K. Somasekhar, Chad Laux

Abstract


Food insecurity is a complex global problem, with approximately one in eight humans struggling with insufficient ac-cess to adequate nutrition. India accounts for the largest share of the world’s food-insecure population despite more than four decades of subsidized food production, distribution, and consumption. We report on the public distribu-tion of food through the COREPDS (centralized online real-time public distribution system), an ICT intervention in the public distribution system of Chhattisgarh, India. COREPDS is a theoretically driven ICT intervention that empowers households in Chhattisgarh by offering them the freedom to choose when, where, and how they wish to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to food access. We analyze the motivations to use ICTs to democratize food ac-cess and measure the extent to which geographic location and socioeconomic status affect utilization of user free-doms. Our analysis has significant implications for framing national ICT policies in ways that emphasize frugal, flexible, local alternatives to mega e-infrastructures.

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