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Food crisis, administrative response and public action : some general implications from the Kalahandi Issue

Currie, Robert Frederick


Robert Frederick Currie


Subrata Kumar, 1949 Mitra


Kalahandi district in Western Orissa has received extensive media attention in recent years in connection with reports of starvation deaths, child sales and Government neglect. This thesis attempts to identify the roots of hunger in Kalahandi and strategies implemented by people in the district to cope with this problem. It also analyses the performance of Government interventions implemented between 1985 and 1991 designed to promote food security, locating this analysis in a longer historical context.

The study uses data collected over a seven month fieldwork period during 1992. Details of Government programmes were obtained through semi-structured interviews with Government officers and elected representatives at national and regional level. Published and unpublished Government data is used to construct time-series for variations in cropping patterns and production for a wide range of crop types over the period 1960 to 1988. Public responses to hunger and public opinion of state interventions are examined through semistructured individual and group interviews in five villages in different parts of the district.

This thesis argues that the persistence of hunger in Kalahandi cannot be directly attributed to the failure of the Government to direct adequate finance and resources to relief and development programmes. It suggests that Government officers have at their disposal a wide range of well-formulated provisions to protect the vulnerable. However a range of factors limit the effectiveness of state interventions when guidelines come to be implemented in practice. In a wider context this study highlights the important role which NonGovernmental Organisations (N.G.O.'s), the media and the law courts may play in promoting food security; and the need to strengthen cooperation between the public, the administration and other key actors, including politicians and N.G.O.'s, in designing and administering measures to combat hunger.


Currie, R. F. (1993). Food crisis, administrative response and public action : some general implications from the Kalahandi Issue. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jul 21, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Politics
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Politics, The University of Hull
Award Date Nov 1, 1993


Thesis (30.3 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 1993 Currie, Robert Frederick. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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