Food Security In India Class 9 Notes Economics - Chapter 4

Chapter: 4

What Are Food Security In India ?

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    What Is Food Security?

    • Food security means something more than getting two square meals.
    • Food security has following dimensions:

    (a) Availability of food means food production within the country, food imports and the previous year’s stock stored in government granaries.

    (b) Accessibility of food means food is within reach of every person.

    (c) Affordability of food implies that an individual has enough money to buy sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet one's dietary needs.

    • Thus, food security is ensured in a country only if

    (a) enough food is available for all the persons,

    (b) all persons have the capacity to buy food of acceptable quality and,

    (c) there is no barrier on access to food.

    Why Food Security?

    • The poorest section of the society might be food insecure most of the times while persons above the poverty line might also be food insecure.
    • Food security helps when the country faces a national disaster/calamity like earthquake, drought, flood, tsunami, widespread failure of crops causing famine, etc.

    Who Are Food-insecure?

    • In rural areas, the worst affected groups are landless people with little or no land to depend upon, traditional artisans, providers of traditional services, petty self-employed workers and destitutes including beggars.
    • In the urban areas, the food insecure families are those whose working members are generally employed in under-paid occupations and casual labour market.
    • 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 large proportion of pregnant and nursing mothers and children under the age of 5 years constitute an important segment of the food insecure population.

    Seasonal Hunger

    Seasonal hunger is related to cycles of food growing and harvesting. This is prevalent in rural areas because of the seasonal nature of agricultural activities and in urban areas because of casual labourers, e.g., there is less work for casual construction labourers during the rainy season. 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 quantity and/or quality. Poor people suffer from chronic hunger because of their very low income and in turn inability to buy food even for survival.

    What Is Buffer Stock?

    • Buffer Stock is the stock of food grains, namely wheat and rice, procured by the government through the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
    • The FCI purchases wheat and rice from the farmers in states where there is surplus production. The farmers are paid a preannounced price for their crops.
    • This price is called Minimum Support Price (MSP). The MSP is declared by the government every year before the sowing season to provide incentives to farmers for raising the production of these crops.

    What Is The Public Distribution System?

    • The food procured by the FCI is distributed through government regulated ration shops among the poorer section of the society. This is called the Public Distribution System (PDS).
    • Ration shops also, known as Fair Price Shops. It keeps stock of food grains, sugar, and kerosene for cooking.
    • These items are sold to people at a price lower than the market price.

    Current Status Of Public Distribution System

    • In the beginning of PDS, the coverage of PDS was universal with no discrimination between the poor and the non-poor.
    • Later, Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was launched in June 1992 to introduced in 1,700 blocks in the country. The target was to provide the benefits of PDS to remote and backward areas.
    • It was for the first time that a differential price policy was adopted for poor and non-poor.
    • Further, in 2000, two special schemes were launched viz., Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Annapurna Scheme (APS) with special target groups i.e., ‘poorest of the poor’ and ‘indigent senior citizens’, respectively.
      The functioning of these two schemes was linked with the existing network of the PDS.
    • The Public Distribution System has also faced severe criticism on several grounds. Instances of hunger are prevalent despite overflowing granaries. The poor quality of commodities supplied like wheat and rice (sub-standard).

    Role Of Cooperatives In Food Security

    • The cooperative societies set up shops to sell low priced goods to poor people.
    • For example, out of all fair price shops running in Tamil Nadu, around 94 per cent are being run by the cooperatives.
    • In Maharashtra, Academy of Development Science (ADS) has facilitated a network of NGOs for setting up grain banks in different regions.