Food Scarcity and Food Security in India | Analysis

poverty-in-india

Food Security in India: The ideology of food self-sufficiency is a narrow concept or qualitative concept which demands that govt. of a country become capable to fulfill the total demand of staple food grains by its domestic production.

While food security is a qualitative and multidimensional ideology. According to the world food summit (1996), food security means accessibility of all individuals at any time to every essential food resource at an affordable price in order to ensure their healthy and active life. Indirectly we can say that food security rest upon three parameters are Availability, Accessibility, and Affordability. Under food security in order to ensure availability of essential food resources Govt. can go for import but this activity is not acceptable under food self-sufficiency.

India can be better considered as food self-sufficient but not a food secure country.

How is India Food Sufficient?

According to a 2017, report from the Ministry of Agriculture total storage of food-grains with FCI is almost 47.7% more than the prescribing “Buffer Norm”. Similarly, according to the Agriculture ministry, India has registered record food grain production during 2017-18. As of December 2019, FCI was holding 56 MT of rice and wheat and 26 MT of paddy (rice equivalent of 17 MT) in its own facilities. FCI’s rice stocks for instance were at 21 MT in January 2020 compared to a buffer requirement of just 7.6 MT.

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India- A Food Insecure Country

When we look at the objective of food security and its condition within India then various concerning issues came into the picture which establishes India as Food Insecure Country, those are –

  1. According to the Global Nutrition Report 2018, India has the highest number of Stunted Children. The situation has only worsened in 2020. India’s adult population also face a malnutrition burden. 51.4% of women of reproductive age have anaemia, and 9.1% of adult men have diabetes, compared to 8.3% of women. Meanwhile, 5.1% of women and 2.7% of men have obesity.
  2. In the Global Hunger Index 2018, India’s rank was 103 out of 117 countries. This performance was not as satisfactory as performance during 2017. In the Global Hunger Index (GHI), 2019 report India ranked 102 among 117 countries. The GHI 2020 report has placed India in 94th position among 107 countries, much behind Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal. The situation is grim and the country is battling widespread hunger. 
  3. According to the TAG report of the NANDI Foundation; more than 51% adult female population of India is suffering from anemia.

Steps taken to promote food security in India

 

1. Efforts to ensure availability of food resources-

 

Green  Revolution:

  • 1. Started in 1966 – 67
  • 2. Launched mainly in Punjab, Haryana, and western UP.
  • 3. The main focus was to enhance the production of wheat, rice, and cereals.

2. Mentor of Green Revolution was M.S. SwaminathanTo enhance the production of various nutritious crops in agriculture; the legacy of technology mission of agriculture was started by Government in 1986 with technology mission (T.M) on oilseed subsequently following other technology mission was started: –

(a)         Technology mission on Pulse – 1990

(b)        Technology mission on Palm oil – 1992

(c)         Technology mission  on Maize – 1995

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In 2004 Government decided to merge existing T.M into a single mission and thus eventually integrated the mission on oilseed, Pulse, Palm oil, and Maize (ISOPOM) was launched in 2004. Under it, states were authorized to implement the mission.

 

Practice Question: Examine the effectiveness of the Technology mission on the production of nutritious crops in India.

 

Some other technology missions-

(I) Jute Technology mission – 2006.

(ii) Cotton Technology mission – 2000.

3. In 2000 Government announced a national agricultural policy with the objective of a 4% per annum growth rate of the agriculture sector. For it, the government launched the Rainbow Revolution. (Please read about Rainbow Revolution).

4. National food security mission:

  • Launched in 2007
  • Objective was to increase the productivity of wheat, Rice, and Pulse.
  • In order to support the N F S M, Pradhan Mantri Kristi Vikas Yojna was launched in the same year.

5. Recently Government has decided to declare 2018 as the National year of millet to increase their cultivation for providing essential nutrients to the common population.

2. Efforts to ensure the accessibility of food Resources

 

(1) Public Distribution System

The Public Distribution System (PDS) in the country facilitates the supply of food grains and distribution of essential commodities to a large number of poor people through a network of Fair Price Shops at a subsidized price on a recurring basis.

(2) National food security act (2013)

It aims To Provide Subsidized Food Grain to Approximately 2/3rd Population of the Country. Foodgrains are – Rice, Wheat, and Cereals. This initiative in India uses to channelize with the help of the PDS system.

NFSA includes the following scheme: –

(a)         Midday meal.

(b)        Integrated child development scheme (1975)

(c)         Public Distribution System

3. Affordability Pillar has been ensured 

 

  1. The minimum support price (MSP) scheme was launched in 1965 whose objective is to maintain the price stability of agriculture commodities in the market.
  2. To tackle the Inflationary scenario in the agricultural market government has established a price stabilization fund in 2015 for horticulture and perishable agricultural commodity.
  3. In the 2018 budget, the government has launched operation Green to stabilize prices of Tomato, Onion, and Potato (TOP) in the agricultural Market.
  4. For providing the minimum support price of Pulses and oilseed, the price support scheme was launched by NAFED.
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*NAFED – National agriculture co-operative marketing federation.

 

The horticulture sector in India

 

Horticulture is the science of growing and management of fruit, vegetables, spices, plantation crops, and their processing.

Potential of the horticulture sector in India

 

  1. India is endowed with various types of climate conditions and soil varieties that support the production of various types of fruits and vegetables.
  2. Horticulture accounts for 30% of India’s agricultural GDP.
  3. Provides 37% of the total export of agricultural commodities.
  4. India is one of the largest producers of fruits and vegetables.
  5. Horticulture has the potential to realize the objective of the Government to double the farmer’s income by 2022.

Initiatives of the Government to promote horticulture in India

(a) National Horticulture mission (2005)

(b) National horticulture board was set up in 1984 to provide institutional and financial support for horticulture in India.

(c) National Bamboo Mission was launched in 2006-07 which has been decided to be restructured in union budget 2018.

Model Question

The government has called the Bamboo Green Gold. How Bamboo production helps farmers in India and also give some reason why the economic benefit of bamboo could not have been utilized in India so far?

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