WHO Defines Food security to exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
Food security has three interlinked contents such as :-
- Availability of food,
- Access to food and
- absorption of food.
Food security is a multidimensional concept covering even the micro level household food security,energy intakes and indicators of malnutrition.
Major components of food security are:-
- Production and Procurement
Indian Agriculture is rightly called as a gamble with Monsoon, variability in food production and rising population creates food insecurity in the nation and worst effected are the downtrodden section of the society.
While India has seen impressive economic growth in recent years, the country still struggles with widespread poverty and hunger. India’s poor population amounts to more than 300 million people, with almost 30 percent of India’s rural population living in poverty. The good news is, poverty has been on the decline in recent years. According to official government of India estimates, poverty declined from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 29.8% in 2009-10.
Need for Self-Sufficiency:
India suffered two very severe droughts in 1965 and 1966. Food Aid to India was restricted to a monthly basis by USA under the P.L. 480 programme. The Green Revolution made a significant change in the scene. India achieved self-sufficiency in food grains by the year 1976 through the implementation of the seed- water-fertilizer policy adopted by the Government of India.
Food grain production increased four-fold during 1950-51 and 2001-2002 from 51 million tons to 212 million tones. The country is no longer exposed to real famines. But the regional variation in the success of Green Revolution which was chiefly limited to northern- Western states has lead to the divide in the nation. Evergreen revoloution and Bringing green revolution to eastern India is the need of the hour.
Green revolution was focused on wheat and rice and thus the production of pulses was stagnant.
National Food Security Mission comprising rice, wheat and pulses to increase the production of rice by 10 million tons, wheat by 8 million tons and pulses by 2 million tons by the end of the Eleventh Plan (2011-12). The Mission is being continued during 12th Five Year Plan with new targets of additional production of food grains of 25 million tons of food grains comprising of 10 million tons rice, 8 million tons of wheat, 4 million tons of pulses and 3 million tons of coarse cereals by the end of 12th Five Year Plan.
The National Food Security Mission (NFSM) during the 12th Five Year Plan will have five components
(i) NFSM- Rice;
(iv) NFSM-Coarse cereals and
(v) NFSM-Commercial Crops.
Government through Public Distribution System has tried to counter the problem of food insecurity by providing the food grains through fair price shops.
The central Government through Food Corporation of India has assumed the responsibilities of procurement,storage,transfer and bulk allocation of food grains to state governments.
The public distribution system (PDS) has played an important role in attaining higher levels of the household food security and completely eliminating the threats of famines from the face of the country, it will be in the fitness of things that its evolution, working and efficacy are examined in some details.
PDS was initiated as a deliberate social policy of the government with the objectives of:
- i) Providing foodgrains and other essential items to vulnerable sections of the society at resonable (subsidised) prices;
- ii) to have a moderating influence on the open market prices of cereals, the distribution of which constitutes a fairly big share of the total marketable surplus; and
iii) to attempt socialisation in the matter of distribution of essential commodities.
The focus of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is on “poor in all areas” and TPDS involves issue of 35 Kg of food grains per family per month for the population Below Poverty Line (BPL) at specially subsidized prices. The TPDS requires the states to Formulate and implement :-
- foolproof arrangements for identification of poor,
- Effective delivery of food grains to Fair Price Shops (FPSs)
- Its distribution in a transparent and accountable manner at the FPS level.
Problems and issues of storage
The food Corporation of India (FCI) is the nodal agency for food storage in India. It has insufficient number of grain silos (modern storage facilities), and covered godowns with adequate storage capacities. Hence grains are stored in outdoors under CAP storage (Cover and Plinth) across the country. This makes grains prone to rodents, moisture, birds and pests. Unexpected rainstorms and weather makes matters worse.Every year tonnes of food grains go waste because of inadequate storage and infrastructure facilities. The wastage of fruits and vegetables is even higher than grains. Therefore, food logistic chain in India needs huge investment in providing proper storage facilities.Storage infrastructure is necessary for carrying over the agriculturalproduce from production periods to the rest of the year and toprevent distress sales. The warehousing capacity available in India, in public, cooperative and private sector is about 94.526 million MTs and as per Government’s estimates, additional 35 million MTs warehousing capacity is required during the 12th Five Year Plan period for the storage of all major crops.
Traditional Indoor storage involves grain containment in structures like Kanaja, Kothi, Sanduka and earthern pots. Kanaja is a grain storage container made out of bamboo. The base is usually round and has a wide opening at the top. The height varies. The Kanaja is plastered with mud and cow dung mixture to prevent spillage and pilferage of grains. The top is also plastered with mud and cow dung mixture or covered with paddy straw or gunny bags. Wooden boxes, also called as Sanduka, are used for storing pulses, seeds and smaller quantities of grains. These boxes have a storage capacity of 3-12 quintals. In some cases, partition is also made inside the box to store two to three types of grains. A big lid on the top with a small opening enables taking out the grains. To protect the grains from moisture, the box is kept 12 inches above the ground level with the help of stands/legs. The box has to be regularly polished for its maintenance. Kothi is used to store paddy and jowar.
Need of the hour is to strengthen traditional means of storage with modern inputs and to provide cheaper storage to farmers so as prevent enormous storage losses.
The Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is one of the flagship programmes of the Government of India and represents one of the world’s largest and unique programmes for early childhood care and development. It is the foremost symbol of country’s commitment to its children and nursing mothers, as a response to the challenge of providing pre-school non-formal education on one hand and breaking the vicious cycle of malnutrition, morbidity, reduced learning capacity and mortality on the other. The beneficiaries under the Scheme are children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers. Objectives of the Scheme are:
to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years;
to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child;
to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout;
to achieve effective co-ordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development; and
to enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.
The objectives of the mid day meal scheme are:
- Improving the nutritional status of children in classes I-V in Government, Local Body and Government aided schools, and EGS and AIE centres.
- Encouraging poor children, belonging to disadvantaged sections, to attend school more regularly and help them concentrate on classroom activities.
- Providing nutritional support to children of primary stage in drought affected areas during summer vacation.