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World is engulfed with energy shortage, price inflation, climate changes, terrorism whereas food
security has become the most intractable challenge for the development agencies. Despite the good
economic performance, with over200 million people who are food insecure, India is home to the
largest number of hungry people in theworld.Therefore, this is high time to understand the situation
and respond prudentially. The relevance of food, as a discipline of study is never diminished. In
times of scarcity it occupies all attention and a position of pre-eminence in day to day administration.
This report highlights some of the contemporary perspectives on food insecurity in India, policies
undertaken by the government and the need for the comprehensive approach to ensure food security
in India.
1.INTRODUCTION

With the United Nations¶ Millennium Declaration adopting eight major development
goals on 8 September 2000, the question of reduction in poverty and food insecurity has received
major policy focus in several developing countries all over the world. But India has not exhibited
similar policy concern on achieving these goals because of the general sense of comfort from the
success in reducing poverty and food insecurity as revealed by estimates of consumption-based
poverty measures2 and surplus stocks of food grains.
However, the High Level Committee appointed by the Government of India has challenged this
sense of comfort by attributing the excess stocks of food grains to the decline in cereal
consumption in recent decades than to increases in food production. The Committee has found
that the energy intake level of more than 70 per cent of the population is less than 2100 calories
and that the bottom 80 per cent of the rural and bottom 40 per cent of the urban households have
a food expenditure share (food expenditure as a share of total expenditure) of over 60 per cent. In
other words, the magnitude of food insecurity by both the energy intake norm and food share
criterion are all consequences of poverty in India which accounts for 26.1% in1999/ 2000.
The recent attempt to revamp the Public Distribution System by targeting it with reference to
state wise estimates of poverty by differential pricing across poor and non-poor households has
excluded large section of genuinely needy persons to avail the subsidized food . Consequently
food insecurity and Price instability has increased. This would call for downward revisions in
food security norms. Therefore, this report analyses food insecurity in terms of two factors- (i)
deprivation in economic access (incidence of poverty), and (ii) inadequate physical access to
food grains. The study is organized as follows: the following section would briefly cover the
concept FOOD SECURITY, causes of food insecurity in India, steps undertaken by the
government and its failure to meet desired result, recommended suggestions to ensure food
security.
2.What is food security?
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X.WHY FOOD SECURITY? At the global level, the South Asian region is home to more
chronically food insecure people than any other region in the world and India ranks 94th in the
Global Hunger Index of 119 countries.

        


         
   
        
     
    
             
         

         
                   
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9Suggested recommendations to ensure food security

m Futures market and free trade: The present system marked by input subsidies and high Minimal Support
Price should be phased out. To avoid wide fluctuations in prices and prevent distress selling by small
farmers, futures market can be encouraged. Improved communication systems through the use of
information technology may help farmers get a better deal for their produce. Crop insurance schemes can
be promoted with government meeting a major part of the insurance premium to protect the farmers against
natural calamities. All restrictions on foodgrains regarding inter-State movement, stocking, exports and
institutional credit and trade financing should be renounced
m Food-for-education programme: To achieve cent per cent literacy, the food security need can be
productively linked to increased enrolment in schools. With the phasing out of PDS, food coupons may be
issued to poor people depending on their entitlement.
m The State government will in turn distribute the grants to the village bodies, which can decide on the list of
essential infrastructure work the village needs and allow every needy villager to contribute through his
labour and get paid in food coupons and cash.
m Community grain storage banks: The FCI can be gradually dismantled and procurement decentralised
through the creation of foodgrain banks in each block/ village of the district, from which people may get
subsidised foodgrains against food coupons. The food coupons can be numbered serially to avoid frauds.
The grain storage facilities can be created within two years under the existing rural development schemes
and the initial lot of grains can come from the existing FCI stocks. If culturally acceptable, the possibility
of relatively cheap coarse grains, like bajara and ragi and nutritional grains like millets and pulses meeting
the nutritional needs of the people can also be explored.
m Enhancing agriculture productivity: The government, through investments in vital agriculture
infrastructure, credit linkages and encouraging the use of latest techniques, motivate each district/ block to
achieve local self-sufficiency in foodgrain production. However, instead of concentrating only on rice or
wheat, the food crop with a potential in the area must be encouraged. Creation of necessary infrastructure
like irrigation facilities will also simulate private investments in agriculture
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Conclusion
There are strong, direct relationships between agricultural productivity, hunger, and
poverty whichwould reflect in malnourishment. Therefore for food security is a
determinant of improvements in agricultural productivity, maintenance of the area of
cultivable land, encouragement of the farmers to use modern technology and multi-crop
cultivation with adequate financial support are the needs of the hour. In addition the
government has to take a bold step to include water as a central subject and link all the
rivers which should be made as the top priority of any government which comes to
power. Above all the government should curb leakages in the system, corruption, social
practices to have greater impact of the implemented policies.