Chapter 4 Food Security in India

Question 1.
How is food security ensured in India?
Food security of a nation is ensured if all of its citizens have enough nutritious food available, all persons have the capacity to buy food of acceptable quality and there is no barrier to access to food.

Question 2.
Which are the people more prone to food insecurity?
The people more prone to food insecurity are:

  1. Landless people with little or no land to depend on.
  2. Traditional artisans
  3. Providers of traditional services, petty self-employed workers and destitutes, including beggars
  4. Urban casual labourers engaged in seasonal activities.
  5. The SCs, STs and some sections of the OBCs.
  6. People affected by natural disasters.

Question 3.
Which states are more food insecure in India?
The states of Uttar Pradesh (eastern and south-eastern parts), Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra account for the largest number of food-insecure people in the country.

Question 4.
Do you believe that Green Revolution has made India self-sufficient in food grains? How?
Green Revolution has made India self-sufficient in food grains. The country has avoided famines even during adverse weather conditions since the advent of the Green Revolution in the early 1970s. A variety of crops being grown all over the country is an outcome of the Green Revolution.

Question 5.
A section of people in India is still without food. Explain.
A section of the people is insecure during a few months when they remain unemployed because of the seasonal nature of agricultural work. They are engaged in seasonal activities and are paid very low wages that just ensure bare survival. At times it so happens that they have to stay without food.

Question 6.
What happens to the supply of food when there is a disaster or a calamity?
When there is a disaster or a calamity, the production of food grains decreases in the affected areas. This in turn creates a shortage of food in the area. Due to the food shortages, the prices go up. The raised prices of food affect the capacity of many people to buy the same. When a calamity occurs in a very wide area or is stretched over a long period of time, it may cause a situation of starvation. Massive starvation can take the form of famine.

Question 7.
Differentiate between seasonal hunger and chronic hunger.
Hunger has chronic and seasonal dimensions.
Chronic Hunger Seasonal Hunger Chronic hunger is a consequence of diets persistently inadequate in terms of quantity and/or quality. Seasonal hunger is related to cycles of food growing and harvesting. Poor people suffer from chronic hunger because of their very low income and in turn inability to buy food even for survival. This is prevalent in rural areas because of the seasonal nature of agricultural activities and in urban areas because of casual labour.

Question 8.
What has our government done to provide food security to the poor? Discuss any two schemes launched by the government.
The government has designed the food security system carefully to ensure the availability of food to all sections of society. The system is composed of two componfents, i.e.,

  1.  Buffer Stock
  2. Public Distribution System (PDS)

In addition to the above, the government has launched several Poverty Alleviation Programmes (PAPs) that comprise a component of food security. Some of these programmes are Mid-day Meals, Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), and Food For Work (FFW).

The two schemes launched by the government in this direction are:

  1. Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). This scheme was launched in December 2000. Under this scheme, one crore of the poorer among the BPL families, to be covered by the Public Distribution System, were identified. Twenty-five kilograms of food grains were made available to each of the – eligible families at a highly subsidized rate. After about two years, the quantity was enhanced from twenty-five kg to thirty-five kg. In June 2003 and August 2004, an additional fifty lakh families were added to this scheme twice. In this way, about two crore families have been brought under the AAY.
  2. Annapurna Scheme (APS). It was launched in 2,000 with a special target group of ‘indigent senior citizens’. The functioning of the scheme was linked with the existing network of the PDS. Under this scheme, 10 kg of food grains were made available to them free of cost.

Question 9.
Why buffer stock is created by the government?
Buffer stock is created by the government to ensure the availability of food to all the sections of society. It helps to resolve the problem of shortage of food during adverse weather conditions or during periods of calamity.

Question 10.
Write notes on:
(a) Minimum Support Price
(b) Buffer Stock
(c) Issue Price
(d) Fair Price Shops
(a) Minimum Support Price.
 This is the pre-announced price at which the government purchases food grains particularly, wheat and rice, from the farmers to create a buffer stock. This price is announced by the government every year before the sowing season as an incentive to the farmers to raise the production of the desired crop. The rising MSPs have raised the maintenance cost of procuring food grains by the government as well as induced farmers to divert land from the production of coarse grains to the production of these crops.

(b) Buffer Stock. It is the stock of food grains, particularly wheat and rice, which the government procures through the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The FCI purchases these cereals directly from the farmers of those states where they are in surplus. The price of these commodities are announced much before the actual sowing season of these crops. The food grains thus purchased by the FCI are kept in big granaries and called ‘Buffer Stock’.

(c) Issue Price. In order to help the poor strata of the society, the government provides them food grains from the buffer stock at a price much lower than the market price. This subsidised price is known as the ‘Issue Price’.

(d) Fair Price Shops. The food grains procured by the government through the Food Corporation of India are distributed among the poorer sections of the society through ration shops. These are called ‘Fair Price Shops’ because food grains are supplied to the poor through these shops at a price lower than the market price, which is often high.

Question 11.
What are the problems with the functioning of ration shops?
Out of Syllabus.

Question 12.
Write a note on the role of co-operatives in providing food and related items.
The cooperatives are also 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 low priced goods to poor people. For example, out of all fair price shops running in Tamil Nadu, around 94 percent are being run by the cooperatives.