|Table of contents
|What is food security?
|Why Food Security?
|Who are Food-insecure?
|Food Security in India
|What is Buffer Stock?
|What is Public Distribution System (PDS)?
|Current States of Public Distribution System
|Role of Cooperatives in Food Security
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
|1. What is food security?
|2. Why is food security important?
|3. Who are considered food-insecure?
|4. What is a buffer stock?
|5. What is the Public Distribution System (PDS)?