Food Security In India
- Food security : Food security means availability, accessibility and afford ability of food to all people at all times.
- Famine : It is characterized by widespread deaths due to starvation and epidemics caused by forced use of contaminated water or decaying food and loss of body resistance due to weakening of starvation.
- Green Revolution : It is a programme under which HYV varieties of wheat and rice seedlings are planted in the fields of poor farmers.
- Food Corporation of India : Since the Green Revolution, food grain production in India has increased manifold.
- The food security system in India consists of the creation of buffer stocks of food grains and their distribution through the public distribution system. Every year, after the harvest of food grains like wheat and rice, the government buys food grains from farmers through the Food Corporation of India.
- Rationing : It is a term given to the government controlled distribution of resources and scarce goods or services.
- It restricts how much people are allowed to buy or consume at a particular time in a particular period.
- Malnutrition : It is a state of not having enough food or not getting nutritious food.
- Wheat Revolution : It was a special stamp released in July 1968 by Indira Gandhi. , the Prime Minister of India to officially record the impressive achievement of the Green Revolution.
- Hunger : Hunger is both a cause and effect of poverty and indicates food insecurity
- Seasonal hunger : It is related to the cycles of food security and insecurity. Seasonal hunger exists when a person is unable to get work for the entire year. It is a type of hunger when a person doesn’t get proper food neither in terms of quantity nor in terms of quality for some time during the year.
- Chronic hunger : It is a consequence of diets persistently inadequate in terms of quantity and/or quality. Poorer sections of the society suffer from chronic hunger because of their very low income and in turn inability to buy food even for their survival.
- Buffer stock : The food grains so procured are stored in warehouses of the FCI. This stock of food grains is called the buffer stock. The buffer stock is used to prevent a shortage of food in adverse conditions like crop failure and natural calamities.
- Cooperatives : Cooperative societies in India are playing a significant role in ensuring food security and are more active in western and southern regions of the country. In Tamil Nadu, around 94% of all Fair Price shops run under the Public Distribution System are managed by cooperatives.
Introduction To Food Security
- The purpose of food security is to ensure that everyone always has enough to eat. Food security exists when there is enough food available for all; the available food is accessible to all; and everybody can afford to buy sufficient food.
- People living in poverty suffer from lack of food security most of the time as they cannot afford food. In situations of natural disasters like flood, drought and earthquake, the problem of food security assumes larger proportions and affects a larger number of people.
- Natural calamities like flood and drought destroy crops and existing food stocks triggering a chain reaction.
- Destruction and a decrease in the production of food cause a decrease in the availability of food. A decrease in the availability of food causes food prices to rise. The rise in food prices decreases the afford ability, and more people are unable to buy food.
- A natural calamity affecting a large area for a long duration of time leads to starvation and conditions of famine.
- A famine results in a large number of deaths due to starvation and epidemics that spread due to the forced use of contaminated food and water, and the loss of body resistance due to hunger. The worst famine in Indian history was the Bengal Famine that hit the Bengal province of British India in 1943.
- In India, deaths due to starvation are often reported from Kalahandi and Kashipur in Odisha, Baran in Rajasthan and Palamau in Jharkhand.
Food Security System In India
- Food Insecure Groups in India :
- The economically backward states, the tribal and remote areas, and areas prone to natural disasters like droughts and floods have a higher percentage of people with food insecurity.
- Hunger is both a cause and effect of poverty and indicates food insecurity. Hunger is of two types : Chronic hunger and seasonal hunger. Chronic hunger is a result of consistently low quantity and quality of diet.
- Seasonal hunger is a result of low quantity and quality of diet for a short period of time. Both chronic and seasonal hunger has decreased in rural and urban India. Food security requires the elimination of present and future hunger.
- India has made rapid strides in attaining self-sufficiency in food, and to provide food security to its large population. The introduction of modern farming methods brought about the Green Revolution in India and was marked by a dramatic increase in the production of food grains.
- However, the success of the Green Revolution was not uniform across India. In the states of Punjab and Haryana, wheat production increased by more than four times from 1965 to 1995. The states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh also saw a significant rise in rice production, but the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha, and the north-eastern states, did not show any significant rise in food grain production.
- Since the Green Revolution, food grain production in India has increased manifold. The food security system in India consists of the creation of buffer stocks of food grains and their distribution through the public distribution system. Every year, after the harvest of food grains like wheat and rice, the government buys food grains from farmers through the Food Corporation of India.
- The food grains so procured are stored in warehouses of the FCI. This stock of food grains is called the buffer stock. The buffer stock is used to prevent a shortage of food in adverse conditions like crop failure and natural calamities.
Role of Cooperatives In Food Security
- Cooperative societies in India are playing a significant role in ensuring food security and are more active in western and southern regions of the country. In Tamil Nadu, around 94% of all fair price shops run under the Public Distribution System are managed by cooperatives.
- Mother Dairy is a cooperative that sells milk and vegetables at fixed rates decided by the Delhi Government.
- Anand Milk Union Limited or Amul, Gujarat is one of the most successful cooperatives in India. Amul gave a tremendous boost to milk production leading to the White Revolution in India. Amul not only encourages dairy farming, but also provides a variety of milk products to consumers all over the country.
- The Academy of Development Studies in Maharashtra is a society devoted to welfare of tribals and rural communities. ADS has set up grain banks in tribal and rural areas with the help of local NGOs to food security.
- A grain bank functions like a normal bank. The members can make deposits of surplus grain after the harvest and make withdrawals during lean periods. Grain bank members can also take loans in the form of grain and repay the loans with interest at the time of the next harvest.
Question.1. (a) Why is agriculture a seasonal activity?
(b) Why is Ramu unemployed for about four months in a year?
(c) What does Ramu do when he is unemployed?
(d) Who are supplementing income in Ramu’s family?
(e) Why does Ramu face difficulty when he is unable to get work?
(f) When is Ramu food insecure?
Ans. (a) Agriculture is a seasonal occupation because farmars remain out of work for 4 to 5 months in a year.
(b) Because Ramu works as a casual labourer in agriculture. Agriculture being a seasonal activity, Ramu gets works only during the times of sowing, transplanting and harvesting. He remains unemployed for about 4 months during the period of plant cultivation and maturing in a year.
(c) He looks for work in other activities such as construction activities, brick laying etc. in the village.
(d) Ramu’s three sons and food grower also work on the field. His wife works as a house cleaner for the livestock, removing and managing cow dung.
(e) Ramu is food insecure during 4 months when he remains unemployed.
Question.2. (a) Does Ahmed have a regular income from rickshaw-pulling?
(b) How does the yellow card help Ahmed run his family even with small earnings from rickshaw-pulling?
Ans. (a) No, Ahmed’s earning from rickshaw-pulling fluctuates every day.
(b) With his yellow card, Ahmed gets sufficient quantity of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil for his daily requirements. He gets these essential items at half of the market price. In this way, Ahmed is able to manage his family even with small earnings.
Question.3. Graph 4.1 : Production of Food grains in India (Million Tonnes)Study the Graph 4.1 and answer the following questions :
(a) In which year did our country cross the 200 million tonnes per year mark in food grain produciton?
(b) In which decade did India experience the highest decadal increase in food grain production?
(c) Is production increase consistent in India since 2000-01?
Ans. (a) In 2001-02 (212.9 million tonnes) in 20.3-04 (213.5 million tonnes)
(b) During 1980-81 to 1990-91
Question.4. Graph 4.2 : Central Food grains (Wheat + Rice) Stock and Minimum Buffer Norm (Million Tonnes)Study the Graph 4.2 and answer the following questions :
1. In which recent year food grain stock with the government was maximum?
2. What is the minimum buffer stock norm for the FCI?
3. Why were the FCI granaries overflowing with food grains?
Ans. 1. In 2002
2. 24.3 million tonnes
3. Because poor people were not able to buy food.
Question.1. When is food security ensured ?
Ans. Food security is ensured under the following conditions :
(a) When food is available in adequate quantity as well as quality to meet nutritional requirements.
(b) When food is within the reach of every person.
(c) When an individual has enough money to buy sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet one’s dietary needs.
Question.2. Which are the people more prone to food insecurity?
Ans. People more prone to food insecurity are :
(i) Landless and small farmers
(ii) Traditional artisans
(iii) Providers of traditional services
(iv) Petty self-employed persons and
Question.3. Which states are more food insecure in India?
Ans. More food insecure states of India: The states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra are more food-insecure in India.
Question.4. Do you believe that Green Revolution has made India self-sufficient in foodgrains? How?
Ans. After Independence, Indian policy-makers adopted all possible measures to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains. India adopted a new strategy in agriculture which resulted in the Green Revolution. Green Revolution took place especially in the production of wheat and rice. The core of this new strategy was the use of HYV seeds along with chemical fertilizer and
assured water supplies. As a result, total production of foodgrains increased from 50.8 million tonnes in 1950-51 to 212.0 million tonnes in 2003-04. The largest contribution came from wheat, whose production rose from 6.4 million tonnes to 72.1 million tonnes.
Question.5. A section of people in India are still without food. Explain.
Ans. Despite large increase in foodgrain production we find people without food in India. Poor people suffer from chronic hunger. They find themselves unable to buy food. Over one-fifth of the country’s population still suffers from chronic hunger.
Question.6. What happens to the supply of food when there is a disaster or a calamity?
Ans. The supply of food is adversely affected during a natural calamity or disaster. Due to a natural calamity, say drought, the production of food grains is less and hence supply decreases.
Question.7. Differentiate between seasonal hunger and chronic hunger.
Ans. Hunger has seasonal and chronic dimensions. Seasonal hunger is a consequence of seasonal nature of work. For example, agriculture in India is seasonal occupation. Farm labourers remain out of work during some months of the year. Hence, during off-season poor people are not able to buy food. On the other hand, chronic hunger exists among people who are not able to buy food because of their very low income. For example land less labourers earn very less to earn enough for food.
Question.8. What has our government done to provide food security for the poor? Discuss any two schemes launched by the government.
Ans. Our government has undertaken a number of measures to provide food security for the poor. A brief account of these measures is given below :
- Maintenance of Buffer Stock: Our government maintains buffer stock of foodgrains through Food Corporation of India. The FCI purchases wheat and rice from the farmers in surplus states and stores in granaries.
- Public Distribution System (PDS): The food procured by the FCI is distributed among the poor through ration shops. Presently, there are about 4.6 lakh ration shops in the country.
- Nutritional Programmes: In order to provide nutritional security, our government has launched various schemes. Mid-day meal scheme for schoolchildren, scheme for supply of foodgrains to scheduled castes/scheduled tribes and special nutrition programmes for pregnant/nursing mothers are examples of such schemes.
In 2000, two special schemes were launched. One, Antyodaya Anna Yojana and second, the Annapurna Schemes. The former relate to the poorest of the poor, while the latter targets indigent senior citizens. The functioning of these two schemes was linked with the PDS. Under AAY scheme, thirty-five kilograms of foodgrains are made available to each eligible family at a rate of Rs 2 per kg for wheat and Rs 3 per kg for rice. Under APS, 10 kilograms of food grains is made available to eligible persons free of cost.
Question.9. Why is buffer stock created by the government?
Ans. The government creates buffer stock of foodgrains to protect the interest of both farmers as well as consumers. Farmers’ interests are protected when they are assured to get a certain minimum price for their crops. This price is called ‘minimum support price’. The interests of the consumers are protected when the procured food is made available to the consumers at subsidised rates. This task is done through fair price shops.
Question.10. Write notes on :
(a) Minimum Support Price
(b) Issue Price
(c) Fair Price Shops
Ans. (a) Minimum Support Price: With a view to provide incentives to the farmers for raising the production of their crops, the government announces price of some crops before the sowing season. The government remains ready to purchase their crops at these pre-announced prices. This price is called minimum support price (MSP).
(b) Issue Price: The purchased foodgrains are stored in granaries. This is done to distribute foodgrains among the poorer section of the society. The government makes foodgrains available to the poor at a price much lower than the market price. This is known as issue price.
(c) Fair Price Shops: The food procured by the government is distributed among the poor. This task is done through government regulated shops which are known as fair price shops.
Question.11. What are the problems of the functioning of ration shops?
Ans. There are various problem of the functioning of ration shops such as ;
1. Ration cards are issued only to those people who have their proper residential addresses. Hence a large number of homeless poor fail to get ration from these shops.
2. The owners of these shops sell ration in the open market at higher prices.
3. Sometimes shopkeepers make bogus entries in the ration cards.
Question.12. Write a note on the role of cooperatives in providing food and related items.
Ans. Role of Cooperatives in providing food and related items is as follows: The cooperatives are 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 goods to the poor people at lower prices. For example, out of all fair price shops operating in Tamil Nadu, nearly 94 percent are being run by the cooperatives. In Delhi, Mother Dairy is providing milk and vegetables to the consumers at controlled prices which are decided by the Delhi Government. Amul is another example in this regard. It has brought about the White Revolution in the country. There are many more cooperatives and NGOs also working intensively towards this direction.