While we are privileged to choose our delicious meals from healthier alternatives to scrumptious fast food, some might not even have the availability, affordability or accessibility of what constitutes to be a basic dietary intake. Food security in India is a major issue that is faced by innumerable people in the country. Class 9 Social Science Chapter Food Security in India explains the various causes, affected groups as well as the measures taken by the Indian government to eradicate it. For all those who are willing to get a hold of the insights of this chapter, here is a blog which aims to highlight the key pointers of class 9 Food Security in India.
This Blog Includes:
What is Food Security?
Food security refers to the availability, affordability and accessibility of food to all the citizens of the country. Food security in India majorly depends on factors such as the Government’s Public Distribution System (PDS), Government vigilance, along with Government action. Class 9 social science notes underline food security with the following attributes:
Availability: Food production in the country, food imports from other countries, previous years’ stock of food.
Accessibility: Food shall be accessible or within everyone’s reach.
Affordability: Adequate financial resources to buy a sufficient amount of nutritious food. Food security is ensured in a country when there is enough food for all people, everyone can buy quality food products and everyone has access to nutritious food.
Importance of Food Security
Food security in India is essential in times of natural calamities and famines. In natural disasters, there is reduced production of food grains, and hence, inflation in food prices due to shortage. This can also give rise to starvation-like situations. Intense periods of starvation can take forms of famine. A famine, which is primarily due to hunger and epidemics caused by the consumption of contaminated food and water can cause extensive deaths. Hence, food security is one of the most essential parameters which our country has to combat.
Who are Food Insecure?
As per the class 9 chapter on Food security in India, we can easily frame out that the numbers are high in our country. Due to those facing poverty and unemployment, people with little to no land and money and petty workers, including beggars, who are the worst affected in terms of food insecurity. Those employed in casual labour markets in urban areas with meagre wages are also food insecure. People belonging to SC, ST and OBC groups are also vulnerable to food insecurity. Food insecure groups also include pregnant women, nursing mothers, children below the age of 5 and those who migrate due to natural calamities.
Food Insecure States in India
India is home to a bifurcated population of rich and poor with a plethora of citizens falling under the below poverty line. As a result of which, a variety of states in the country are badly hit by the impact of food insecurity such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, etc.
Food Security in India
Since Independence, India strives to aim for self-sufficiency in grains. The class 9 Food Security in India chapter cites that the ‘Green Revolution’ is a strategy adopted in the 1960s to increase India’s self-sufficiency and enhance food security in India. Famine-like conditions have reduced in India after adopting the Green Revolution, even during unfavorable weather conditions. New and various crop variants and grains are now grown in India. The country has a carefully designed system for food security so as to ensure food availability to all, which includes buffer stock and Public Distribution System.
Under the concept of food security, Hunger can be of two types:
- Chronic Hunger: This is the consequence of a regular quality and quantity deficient diet. It is mainly due to lack of income. Poor people are susceptible to constant hunger all the time. Low food security results in constant hunger
- Seasonal Hunger: This is caused by seasonal agricultural activities in rural areas. The prominent cause can be ripening of harvest or seasonal crop.
It refers to the stock of grain (particularly wheat and rice) that the Government procures via the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to enhance Indian food security. Buffer stock helps distribute the food grains to the poor at a lower price than the market price to increase food security in India. These grains are purchased by FCI at MSP (Minimum Support Price) whenever the situation of surplus arises. MSP is a pre-announced price given to farmers for their grains. Government declares the MSP every year before the sowing season to benefit the farmers.
Public Distribution System (PDS)
The next important topic in the class 9 Food Security in India is of PDS. Public Distribution System is used by FCI to distributes the food grains procured from the farmers to the poor and needy via Government-controlled ration shops. Fair Price Shops or Ration Shops are the government-funded stores which provide sugar and kerosene oil for cooking along with stock food grains. Around the 1940s, the concept of rationing started in India during the times of devastating Bengal Famine to increase food security in India.
To be eligible to buy from a ration shop, you need to have a ration card, which has three kinds:
- APL cards: For those above poverty lines
- Antyodaya cards: For the poorest of the poor
- BPL cards: For those below the poverty line
PDS has stabilized prices of food grains, making it available to everyone at affordable costs. However, questions have been raised on its effectiveness as granaries are full of grains, but it gets rotten or eaten by rats instead of being given to the poor and needy.
Food Intervention Programmes
To augment food security in India, there are many Poverty Alleviation Programmes (PAP). The Government has also introduced employment schemes to further enhance food security in India. Majorly three programmes are introduced for food intervention in the mid-1970s to boost food security in India after poverty levels in India were on a rampant rise. As mentioned in class 9 Food Security in India chapter, the main programs were:
- Food for Work (FFW) in 1977-78
- Public Distribution System
- Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in 1975
For the poorest of the poor, the Government introduced two schemes in 2000 called the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and the Annapurna Scheme (APS) for the needy senior citizens.
Excess Food Stocks
In 2002, India was supposed to have a buffer stock of 24.3 million tonnes of wheat and rice, but the amount produced was 63 million tonnes. This is called excessive food stock.
Class 9 social science notes also explain the excess stock paradox where Indian granaries are overflowing with food grains, but people are starving at the same time. This is attributed to malpractices by PDS dealers and insufficient money with the poor to buy food.
Challenges to Food Security
With nearly 195 million ill-fed folks, India shares 1 / 4 of the worldwide hunger burden. Moreover, nearly forty-seven million or four out of ten kids in India aren’t meeting their full human potential due to chronic undernutrition. It has consequences like diminished learning capability, poor college performance, reduced earnings, and inflated risks of chronic diseases. The impacts are multi-generational as malnourished females who usually provide birth to low birth-weight infants. There is also a rise in the prevalence of overweight and fat in kids and adolescents in India, which has lifelong consequences of non-communicable diseases in adulthood. The government has massive food security and anti-poverty programs; however, there are important inclusion and exclusion errors gaps. Women and underage girls are notably underprivileged. Despite national food independence, new challenges have emerged: retardation of agriculture growth, global climate change, land degradation, and shrinking biodiversity. Massive tracts of farmlands in India became barren because of unbalanced chemical use and excessive use of one chemical, urea.
Government Program and Initiatives
India has come far from being food-dependent to becoming a food exporter from the year 2014 – 2015. In the year 2016, the government has introduced a large number of programs to double farmers’ income by 2022. The missions are the National food security mission, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, the Integrated schemes on Oilseeds, Pulses, Palm Oil and Maize (ISOPOM), etc.
The government has taken important steps to provide malnutrition in the past two decades, such as through the introduction of mid-day meals at schools, public distribution systems, National Food Security Act 2013, and Anganwadi systems to provide rations to pregnant & lactating mothers.
The UN has provided its support to India to address the linked nutrition and livelihood problems to make sure that vulnerable groups of the nation are not left behind. It assists the government in improving efficiency and effectiveness and increasing the incomes of farmers and their families. Their major support is for anti-poverty programs, particularly the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission. They have also collaborated previously with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, etc.
Ans: For ensuring food security in India, the government of India has designed a food security system. It has two components, (a) Buffer Stock (b) Public Distribution System. There are three ways in which food security is been ensured in India:
Availability of Food – Production of food to every household including the previous stock
Accessibility of Food – Food reaches every citizen of the country
Affordability of Food – Every person must have the money to afford safe and nutritious food
Ans: The vulnerable group of people is more prone to food insecurity. The social composition, along with the inability to buy food, also plays a role in food insecurity. The SCs, STs, and some sections of OBCs who live poorly and have very low land productivity are prone to food security. In addition, people hit by natural calamities are also likely to be food insecure.
Ans: States which are food insecure are Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, some parts of Maharashtra & Madhya Pradesh.
Ans: Ever since India has avoided famine even in bad weather conditions and various varieties of crops grow all across the country. The availability of food grains even in adverse conditions promoted government to have a proper food security system.
Ans: This is because of the increased rate of commodities and people not being able to afford food to feed themselves and their family members. Being unemployed is also one of the causes of chronic hunger that vulnerable people suffer in rural areas.
Thus, we hope that this blog about class 9 food security in India has helped you understand this topic in detail. Confused about which stream to choose after class 10? Our Leverage Edu experts are here to help you find the best stream as per your interests and aspirations to ensure that you steer towards a successful career!