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Class 9 Economics Chapter 4 Notes - Food Security in India


Food security means making sure that everyone always has enough food that they can get easily and afford. Poor families face more problems with not having enough food when there are issues with growing or getting food. Making sure there's enough food depends on the Public Distribution System (PDS) and the government taking action when there's a threat to food security. 

Class 9 Economics Chapter 4 Notes - Food Security in India

What is food security? 

Food security goes beyond having just two square meals; it's about ensuring that everyone has reliable access to enough food for a healthy life. It emphasizes the importance of making sure people can consistently get the food they need to live well. 

Food security has the following dimensions:

  • Availability of food production within the country, food imports, and the previous years stock stored in government granaries.
  • Accessibility means food is within reach of every person.
  • Affordability implies that a person has enough money to buy sufficient nutritious and safe food to meet one’s dietary needs. Thus, food security is ensured in a country only if:
    (i) Enough food is available for all the people.
    (ii) All persons have the capacity to buy food of acceptable quality.
    (iii) There is no barrier to access to food.

Question for Detailed Chapter Notes - Food Security in India
Try yourself:Which of the following is a requirement for ensuring food security in a country?
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Why Food Security? 

  • Overpopulation: The population of India is increasing at a very fast rate. the population of India has increased from 361 million in 1951 to 1027 million in 2001.
  • Reduction in the net sown area under cereals: There has been a gradual shift from the cultivation of food crops to the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, oilseeds, and other cash crops, which also act as an industrial raw material; This has led to the reduction in net sown area under cereals, millets, and pulses.
  • Hoarding and black marketing: There is a continuous tendency on the part of traders in India to hoard food grains and to accentuate the shortage of food grains in order to push up the prices to reap extraordinary profits.
  • Reduction of land under cultivation: The use of more and more land for the construction of factories, warehouses, and shelters has reduced the land under cultivation, and new fertile land for framing is no longer available.
  • Corrupt administrative practices: The government has imposed various measures like price controls, rationing, zoning, surprise checks, etc. but as the administrative machinery in India is totally corrupt, these measures fail to reap any benefit to the general masses of the country.
  • Natural calamities: Natural calamities like earthquakes, drought, floods, tsunamis, famine, etc. can also adversely affect the folding security of the country.

How is Food Security affected during a Calamity?

  • Natural calamities, such as drought, can lead to a decrease in food grain production, causing shortages in affected areas.
  • Prolonged or widespread calamities can result in situations of starvation, potentially escalating to famine.
  • Famine is marked by widespread deaths due to starvation and epidemics caused by the use of contaminated water or decaying food.
  • Loss of body resistance due to prolonged starvation contributes to the severity of famine conditions.
  • Regions like Kalahandi and Kashipur in Orissa have experienced famine-like conditions with reported cases of starvation deaths.
  • Continuous food security measures are crucial in a country to ensure a consistent food supply and prevent situations of hunger and famine

Question for Detailed Chapter Notes - Food Security in India
Try yourself:How does a natural calamity, such as drought, affect food security?
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Who are Food-insecure?

  • In India, the worst affected groups are landless people with or no land to depend upon, traditional artisans, providers of traditional services, petty self-employed workers and destitute including beggars.
  • In urban areas, food insecure families are those working members who are generally employed in ill-paid occupations and the casual labor market. These workers are largely engaged in seasonal activities and are paid very low wages that just ensure bare survival.
  • The social composition along with the inability to buy food also plays a role in food insecurity.
  • The SCs, STs, and some sections of the OBCs (lower castes among them) who have either poor land-base or very low land productivity are prone to food insecurity.
  • The people affected by natural disasters, who have to migrate to other areas in search of work, are also among the most food insecure people.
  • A high incidence of malnutrition prevails among women. This is a matter of serious concern as it puts even the unborn baby at risk of malnutrition.

Class 9 Economics Chapter 4 Notes - Food Security in India

Which States are more Food Insecure?

the food insecure people are disproportionately large in some regions of the country, such as economically backward states with high incidence of poverty, tribal and remote areas, regions more prone to natural disasters etc. in fact, the states of Uttar Pradesh (eastern and south-eastern parts), Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, parts of Madhya and Maharashtra account for the largest number of food-insecure people in the country.

Question for Detailed Chapter Notes - Food Security in India
Try yourself:The most affected groups in rural areas facing food insecurity are:
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Hunger is another aspect indicating food insecurity. Hunger is not just an expression of poverty, it brings about poverty. The attainment of food security, therefore, involves eliminating current hunger and reducing the risk of future hunger. Hunger has chronic and seasonal dimensions.

  • Seasonal Hunger: Seasonal hunger is related to the cycle of food growing and harvesting. During off season, prices of foodgrains become high or there can be shortage of foodgrains. This situation leads to seasonal hunger. This type of hunger exists when a person is unable to get work for the entire year
  • Chronic Hunger: Chronic hunger is a consequence of diets persistently inadequate in terms of quality. The basic cause of chronic hunger is very low income. The type of hunger exists when a person is unable to get work for the entire year.     

India has been aiming at Self-sufficiency in Foodgrains since its Independence

  • After independence, Indian policymakers adopted all measures to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains. India adopted a new strategy in agriculture, which resulted in the ‘Green Revolution’, especially in the production of wheat and rice.
  • Since the advent of the Green Revolution in the early '70s, the country has avoided famine even during adverse weather conditions.

Impact of Green Revolution

  • The success of the Green Revolution has made India self-sufficient in good grains.
  • Because of the Green Revolution, there was an increase in the production of wheat and rice.
  • A higher rate of growth was achieved in Punjab and Haryana.
  • Tami Nadu and Andhra Pradesh recorded a significant increase in rice yield.
  • The increase in the production of food grains helps the Government to build buffer stock.
  • This buffer stock led to food security.

Question for Detailed Chapter Notes - Food Security in India
Try yourself:Which regions in India experienced a significant increase in rice yield due to the Green Revolution?
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Food Security in India

India has become self-sufficient in foodgrains during the thirty years because of a variety of crops grow in the whole country. The availability of food grains at the country level has further been ensured with a carefully designed food system. This system has two components: (a) Buffer Stock (b) Public Distribution System.

What is Buffer Stock?

Buffer Stock, managed by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), consists of government-purchased surplus wheat and rice from states with excess production. The FCI procures these grains right after harvesting and releases them through Fair Price Shops. The key goal is price stability, crucial for safeguarding the interests of both producers and consumers, with varying conditions favoring each group. 

  • If there is a bumper crop: by guaranteeing to purchase crops at a pre-announced price, the government ensures that the price of wheat does not crash, and farmer's interests are protected. 
  • If there is a crop deficit: in this situation, wheat would be released from the buffer stock; it would be made available for sale in the market, Supply of wheat would increase. price of wheat could come down. Thus buffer stocks help to protect the interests of both producers and consumers.

What is Public Distribution System (PDS)?

The food procured by the FCI is distributed through government-regulated ration shops among the poorer section of society. This is called the Public Distribution System (PDS). Ration shops are now present in most localities, villages, towns, and cities. There are about 4.6 lakh ration shops all over the country. Rations shops also known as Fair Price Shops, keep stock of foodgrains, sugar, and kerosene oil for cooking. These items are sold to people at a price lower than the market price. Any family with a ration card can buy a stipulated amount of these items every month from the nearby ration shops.

Class 9 Economics Chapter 4 Notes - Food Security in India

History of Rationing in India

The introduction of Rationing in India dates back to the 1940s against the backdrop of the Bengal Famine. The rationing system was revived in the wake of an acute food shortage during the 1960s, prior to the Green Revolution. In the wake of the high incidence of poverty levels, as reported by NSSO in the mid-1970s, three important food intervention programs were introduced.

  • Public Distribution System for Foodgrains (in existence earlier but strengthened thereafter).
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) introduced in 1975 on an experimental basis.
  • Food-for-work programme introduced in 1977-78.
  • At present, there are several Poverty Alleviation Programmes (PAPs), mostly in rural areas, which have an explicit food component also. While some of the programmes such as PDS, mid-day meals etc. are exclusively food security Programmers, most of the PAPs also enhance food security.

Question for Detailed Chapter Notes - Food Security in India
Try yourself:When was the rationing system reintroduced in India?
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Current States of Public Distribution System

  • In 1992, Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was introduced in 1,700 blocks in the country. the target was to provide the benefits of PDS to remote and backward areas.
  • Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) was introduced to adopt the principle of targeting the ‘poor in all areas’. it was for the first time that a differential price was adopted for the poor and non-poor.
  • Two special schemes were launched in 2000. (a) Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) (b) Annapurna Scheme (APS) with special target groups of ‘poorest of the poor’ and ‘indigent senior citizens.

National Food for Work Programme

  • Launched on November 14, 2004, in the 150 most backward districts.
  • Aims to intensify supplementary wage employment generation.
  • Open to all rural poor seeking manual unskilled work.
  • Implemented as a 100% centrally sponsored scheme.
  • States receive free food grains to support the program.
  • The Collector at the district level is the nodal officer with various responsibilities.
  • Allocation for 2004-05: Rs 2,020 crore and 20 lakh tonnes of food grains.

Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

Launched in December 2000, this scheme aimed to support one crore of the poorest families identified under the Below Poverty Line (BPL) survey within the targeted public distribution system. State rural development departments conducted the survey to pinpoint eligible families. Initially, 25 kilograms of food grains were provided at highly subsidized rates of Rs 2 per kg for wheat and Rs 3 per kg for rice. The allotment increased to 35 kgs in April 2002. The scheme expanded twice, adding 50 lakh BPL families in June 2003 and August 2004, reaching a total of 2 crore covered families under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). 

Question for Detailed Chapter Notes - Food Security in India
Try yourself:Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Annapurna Scheme are linked with :
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Achievement of Public Distribution System

  • The PDS has proved to be the most effective instrument of government policy over the years in stabilizing prices and making food available to consumers at affordable prices.
  • The system, including the minimum support price and procurement, has contributed to an increase in food grain production and provided income security to farmers in certain regions.

Problem Associated with Public Distribution System

  • There is a general consensus that a high level of buffer stocks of food grains is very undesirable and can be wasteful. the storage of massive food stocks has been responsible for high carrying costs, in addition to wastage and deterioration in grain quality.
  • The increase in food grain procurement at enhanced MSP is the result of the pressure exerted by leading foodgrain-producing states, such as Punjab, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • PDS dealers are sometimes found resorting to malpractices like diverting the grains to the open market to get a better margin, selling poor quality grains at ration shops, the irregular opening of the shops, etc.

Role of Cooperatives in Food Security   

  • The cooperative is also playing an important role in food security in India, especially in the southern and western parts of the country.
  • The cooperative societies set up shops to sell low-priced goods to poor people.
  • In Delhi, Mother Dairy is making strides in the provision of milk and vegetables to the consumers at a controlled rate decided by the Government of Delhi. Amul is another success story of cooperatives in milk and milk products from Gujarat.
  • In Maharashtra, the Academy of Development Science (ADS) has facilitated a network of NGOs for setting up grain banks in different regions.
  • ADS organizes training and capacity-building programs on food security for NGOs.
  • Grain Banks are now slowly taking shape in different parts of Maharashtra. Ads efforts to set up Grain Banks, to facilitate replication through other NGOs, and to influence the Government’s policy on food security are thus paying rich dividends.

Key Terms

Class 9 Economics Chapter 4 Notes - Food Security in India

The document Class 9 Economics Chapter 4 Notes - Food Security in India is a part of the Class 9 Course Social Studies (SST) Class 9.
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FAQs on Class 9 Economics Chapter 4 Notes - Food Security in India

1. What is food security?
Ans. Food security refers to the state in which all individuals have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life.
2. Why is food security important?
Ans. Food security is crucial because it ensures that everyone has access to an adequate amount of nutritious food. It promotes good health, reduces malnutrition, and improves overall well-being. Additionally, food security is essential for social stability and economic development.
3. Who are considered food-insecure?
Ans. Food-insecure individuals are those who do not have regular access to sufficient food due to various reasons such as poverty, unemployment, natural disasters, or conflicts. They often experience hunger, malnutrition, and an inability to meet their dietary requirements.
4. What is a buffer stock?
Ans. A buffer stock refers to the quantity of food grains (such as rice and wheat) held in reserve by the government to stabilize prices and ensure food security during times of scarcity or emergencies. The buffer stock is maintained to address fluctuations in supply and demand and to prevent spikes in food prices.
5. What is the Public Distribution System (PDS)?
Ans. The Public Distribution System (PDS) is a government-run program in India that aims to provide subsidized food grains to the economically weaker sections of society. Under the PDS, eligible individuals can purchase essential food items such as rice, wheat, sugar, and kerosene at lower prices from government-regulated fair price shops. This system helps in ensuring food security and reducing hunger among the vulnerable sections of the population.
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