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Key Concepts - Food Security in India - Social Studies (SST) Class 9

What is Food Security? 

Food security means availability, accessibility and affordability of food to all people at all times.

Key Concepts - Food Security in India | Social Studies (SST) Class 9

Why Food Security? 

The poorest section of the society remains food insecure all the time. People above the poverty line might also feel food insecure in times of natural calamity like earthquakes, drought, flood, tsunami, etc.

Who are Food-insecure?

In rural areas, the worst affected people are landless and small farmers, traditional artisans (weavers, potters, blacksmiths etc.) providers of services (e.g. barbers, washermen etc), petty self-employed workers and destitute. In the urban areas, persons employed in ill-paid occupations and casual labourers are food insecure.
A large proportion of pregnant and nursing mothers and children under the age of 5.

Hunger

Hunger has chronic and seasonal dimensions. Poor people suffer from chronic hunger and are food insecure all the time. Seasonal hunger is caused by the seasonal nature of agricultural activities in rural areas. In urban areas, seasonal hunger occurs because of the casual type of work. Thus, seasonal hunger exists when people are unable to get work for the whole year.

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Need for Self-sufficiency in Food Grains

Our government since Independence realised the need to attain self-sufficiency in food grains because India experienced an acute shortage of food grains after the partition of the country in 1947. The need for self-sufficiency arises from the following:

  • to feed rising population years constitute an important segment of the food insecure population.
  • to fight against droughts, floods, cyclones, etc.
  • to reduce import of food grains
  • to control prices of food grains.

Food Security in India

Since the advent of the Green Revolution in the 1960s, the country has avoided famine, even during adverse weather conditions. India has become self-sufficient in food grains during the last 30 years because of the variety of crops grown all over the country. Also, we have developed a food security system.

What is Buffer Stock?

Buffer stock is the stock of food grains (wheat and rice) procured by the government through the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The FCI purchases wheat and rice for the government from the farmers of surplus states at pre-announced prices. This price is called the ‘minimum support price’.

What is 

Public Distribution System (PDS)?

PDS refers to a system through which the food procured by the FCI is distributed among the poor through government-regulated ration shops. The consumers are issued ration cards.

Kinds of Ration Cards

There are three kinds of ration cards:

  • Antyodaya cards for the poorest of the poor,
  • BPL cards for those below the poverty line and,
  • APL cards for those above the poverty line.

Three Important Food Intervention Programmes

In the wake of the high incidence of poverty levels in the mid-1970s, three important food intervention programmes were introduced:

  • Public Distribution System (in existence earlier)
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in 1975
  • Food for work in 1977-78.

In 2000, two special schemes were launched viz. Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and the Annapurna scheme (APS) with special target groups of the poorest of the poor and indigent senior citizens, respectively.

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Excessive Food Stocks

In July 2002, the stock of wheat and rice with FCI was 63 million tonnes which was much more than the minimum buffer norms of 24.3 million tonnes. The stock reduced thereafter but always remained higher than the buffer norms.

Paradox of Excess Stocks and Starvation

In fact, India has experienced a paradoxical situation in recent years. While the granaries (godowns) of the government are overflowing with excess stocks of food, we also find people without food. The main reason for this unfortunate situation is that many poor families do not have enough money or income to buy food.

The document Key Concepts - Food Security in India | Social Studies (SST) Class 9 is a part of the Class 9 Course Social Studies (SST) Class 9.
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FAQs on Key Concepts - Food Security in India - Social Studies (SST) Class 9

1. What is food security?
Ans. Food security refers to the state of having reliable access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet one's dietary needs and preferences for an active and healthy life. It involves not only the availability of food but also its accessibility, utilization, and stability over time.
2. Why is food security important?
Ans. Food security is crucial because it ensures the well-being and survival of individuals and communities. Access to adequate food is a fundamental human right, and it is essential for physical and mental health, productivity, and overall development. Additionally, food security plays a significant role in poverty reduction and social stability.
3. Who are considered food-insecure?
Ans. Food-insecure individuals or households are those who do not have regular access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and lead an active and healthy life. They may face uncertainty about their next meal, rely on inadequate food sources, or have to compromise on the quality and quantity of the food they consume.
4. What is the Public Distribution System (PDS)?
Ans. The Public Distribution System (PDS) is a government-run program in India that aims to provide food security to the vulnerable sections of society. It involves the distribution of essential commodities such as rice, wheat, sugar, and kerosene at subsidized rates through a network of fair price shops. The PDS ensures the availability of food grains to the poor and prevents hoarding and black marketing.
5. What are some key concepts related to food security in India?
Ans. Some key concepts related to food security in India include the Green Revolution, Minimum Support Price (MSP), Buffer Stock, and Nutritional Programs. The Green Revolution refers to the introduction of high-yielding varieties of crops and modern agricultural practices to increase food production. The Minimum Support Price is the price at which the government buys crops from farmers to protect them from market fluctuations. Buffer Stock refers to the stockpile of food grains maintained by the government to stabilize prices and ensure food availability during emergencies. Nutritional Programs focus on improving the nutritional status of vulnerable populations through interventions such as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
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