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Programmes to Improve Food Security in India

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Food security refers to ensuring adequate food supply to people, particularly those who are malnourished. In India, food security has been a major concern.

According to UN-India, India has nearly 195 million undernourished people, accounting for one-quarter of the world’s hunger burden. In addition, approximately 43 % of children in India are chronically malnourished.

In terms of the Food Security Index 2020, India ranks 71st out of 113 major countries.

Though the available nutritional standard meets 100% of the requirement. India lags far behind in terms of quality protein intake at 20%, which must be addressed by making protein-rich food products such as soybeans, lentils, meat, eggs, dairy, and so on available at affordable prices. According to the Human Rights Measurement Initiative. India is doing 56.8 percent of what should be possible at its income level for the right to food.

Government Programmes For Food Security in India

  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme, which began on October 2, 1975, is one of the Government of India’s flagship programs and one of the world’s largest and most innovative early childhood care and development programs. It is the most visible symbol of the country’s commitment to its children and nursing mothers, as a response to the challenge of providing pre-school non-formal education on the one hand, and also breaking the malnutrition food cycle, morbidity, reduced learning capacity, and mortality on the other. Children aged 0-6 years, pregnant women, and breastfeeding moms are among the Scheme’s beneficiaries. 

  • Food For Work (FFW)

This was introduced in 1977 -78 with the objective give food grains to the poorer section of society instead of wages which was later on restructured into the present National food for work program.

National food for work programme: During the early phases of the scheme’s implementation, the Indian government anticipated a protest to safeguard individuals living in the country’s most impoverished areas by providing them food grains instead of pay, and had set aside surplus food grains produced throughout the country for distribution as wages.

The primary goal was to save the poor’s lives by giving them food grains, and the secondary goal was to make them do some work for national development, such as building roads from Kutcha to semi-Kutcha, clearing debris and cleaning historical monuments, groundwork on some irrigation and agriculture work, and so on. This was later subsumed in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which guarantees a minimum of 100 days of work to every rural household whose members can do some manual labour.

Some of the highlights are,

  1. This program was launched across the 150 most backward districts of the country on 14 November 2004. and the only objective is to intensify the generation of supplementary wage employment.
  2. Some people who are in the need of wage employment in rural areas and also have desired to do manual unskilled work can take the benefits of this program.
  3. This scheme has a 100 % centrally sponsored scheme for the free distribution of food grains to poor people.
  4. In this program, only the nodal officer is The collector of the District and has the full responsibility of the planning, implementation, coordination, monitoring, and supervision.

Buffer Stock: Food Corporation of India stores the stock of food grains namely wheat and rice procured by the government. this is known as buffer stock

  • In this FCI purchase the surplus production of food grain such as wheat and rice from the farmers, 
  • Then the purchased food grains have been stored in government granaries. so that in future surplus stock can be distributed in deficient areas and among the poorer section of society at a price lower than the market price also known as Issue price.
  • It helps in the shortage of food. These extra foodgrains also help at the time of natural calamities where there is a shortage of food.
  • Public Distribution System

It is defined as the system in which food is procured by the FCI is distributed among the weaker or poorer sections of society. For the distribution of food around 5.5 lakh, Ration Shops has opened in villages, towns in different regions. Ration shops are also termed Fair Price Shop and keep the stock of kerosene oil for cooking, sugar, foodgrains. From these shops, Items have been sold at a very low price as compared to the market. Any family who is having ration card can purchase a stipulated amount of these items .

Ration cards are of three types-

  1. For the poorest of the poor, there is ANTYODAYA CARDS.
  2. For those below the poverty, there is BPL CARDS.
  3. For all others, they have APL CARDS.
  • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

This scheme was launched in December 2000, Under this scheme, one crore of the poorest among the BPL families covered under the targeted public distribution system were identified. In this scheme, the State Rural development department has identified the poor families through the Below poverty line survey.

Under this scheme, each eligible family received 25 kilograms of foodgrains at a heavily subsidized rate of 2 per kg for wheat and 3 per kg for rice. With effect from April 2022, this quantity has been increasing from twenty-five kgs to thirty-five kgs. Later on, In June 2003 it expanded twice by an additional 50 lakh BPL families and with this increase in August 2004, The AAY has covered around 2 crore families. These are the programs government has started for tackling the situation of food shortage .so that one has got the proper amount of dietary need and also for the help at the time of natural calamities.

Sample Questions

Question 1: What are the impacts of the Green Revolution?


  • Green Revolution has made India self sufficient in food grains.
  • Due to Green Revolution, There has been significant increase in the rice yield in the states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
  • It also helps in the production rise of food grains that helps the government to build the buffer stock.

Question 2: Explain the two limitations of the Public Distribution System?


The limitations of the Public Distribution System are,

  1. Hunger is prevailing in the society even after the so many years of working of public distribution system .
  2. Another effect of PDS is wastage and deterioration of foodgrains because of the excess stock in godown than their capacity .

Question 3: What is the minimum support price?


The farmers will be paid preannounced price for their crops and this is declared by the government every year before the sowing season to provide incentives to the farmers for raising the production of their crops .This price is known as Minimum Support price

Question 4: What are the effects of Famine?


The effects of Famine are,

  1. Famine leads to the decrease in the total production of food grains which cause the shortage of food grains .
  2. Famine results into widespread deaths due to starvation and epidemics .

Question 5: What exactly is Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)?


To address the issue of poverty, this scheme was implemented in 1975. Their primary target population included children under the age of six, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. .

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Last Updated : 30 Mar, 2022
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