|Table of contents
|What is Food Security?
|Why Food Security?
|Who are Food-insecure?
|Food Security in India
|What is Public Distribution System (PDS)?
Food security means availability, accessibility and affordability of food to all people at all times.
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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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’.
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.
There are three kinds of ration cards:
In the wake of the high incidence of poverty levels in the mid-1970s, three important food intervention programmes were introduced:
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.
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.
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.
|1. What is food security?
|2. Why is food security important?
|3. Who are considered food-insecure?
|4. What is the Public Distribution System (PDS)?
|5. What are some key concepts related to food security in India?