Food Security in India
Q44. What is rationing system?
Ans. Rationing system is the controlled distribution of scarce resources. This system was introduced in India in 1940s against the backdrop of the Bengal famine. In India certain food grains, sugar, cereals and kerosene are distributed through a network of ration shops to those living under or above the poverty line at subsidized rate to ensure food security. Any family with a ration card can buy a stipulated amount of these items every month from the nearby ration shop.
Q45. Which important food intervention programmes were introduced by Indian government after NSSO report?
What are the three important Food Intervention Programmes?
Ans. In the wake of the high incidence of poverty levels, as reported by the NSSO in the mid-1970s, three important food intervention programmes were introduced:
- Public Distribution System (PDS) for food grains (in existence earlier but strengthened thereafter);
- Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) (introduced in 1975 on an experimental basis) and
- Food-for -Work (FFW) (introduced in 1977–78)
Q46. ‘A section of people in India are still without food.’ Why?
- Extreme poverty - Despite large increase in food grain production, a section of people in India are still without food because of poverty. Thus, landless labourer, casual urban workers, SCS and STs who are below the poverty line are unable to buy food.
- Corruption in PDS - PDS dealers are sometimes found resorting to malpractices like diverting the grains to open market to get better margin, selling poor quality grains at ration shops, irregular opening of the shops, etc.
Q47. How does public distribution system ensure food security in India? Explain
Ans. The food procured by the FCI is distributed through government regulated ration shops among the poorer section of the society. This is called the public distribution system (PDS). Ration shops are now present in most localities, villages, towns and cities. There are about 5.5 lakh ration shops all over the country. Ration shops also known as Fair Price Shops keep stock of food grains, sugar, kerosene oil for cooking. These items are sold to people at a price lower than the market price. Any family with a ration card can buy a stipulated amount of these items every month from the nearby ration shop.
Q48. How is food security ensured in India?
Ans. To ensure availability of food to all sections of the society the Indian government carefully designed food security system, which is composed of two components: (a) buffer stock and (b) public distribution system. In addition to PDS, various poverty alleviation programmes were also started which comprised a component of food security. Some of these programmes are: Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS); Food-for-Work (FFW); Mid-Day Meals; Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) etc. In addition to the role of the government in ensuring food security, there are various cooperatives and NGOs also working intensively towards this direction.
Q49. Differentiate between seasonal hunger and chronic hunger.
What do you mean by seasonal hunger?
What do you understand by chronic hunger?
Ans. Chronic hunger is a consequence of diets persistently inadequate in terms of quantity and/or quality. Poor people suffer from chronic hunger because of their very low income and in turn inability to buy food even for survival.
Seasonal hunger is related to cycles of food growing and harvesting. This is prevalent in rural areas because of the seasonal nature of agricultural activities and in urban areas because of the casual labour, e.g., there is less work for casual construction labour during the rainy season. This type of hunger exists when a person is unable to get work for the entire year.
Q50. Why is food security needed in India?
Ans. The poorest section of the society might be food insecure most of the times while persons above the poverty line might also be food insecure when the country faces a national disaster/calamity like earthquake, drought, flood, tsunami, widespread failure of crops causing famine, etc. Due to a natural calamity, say drought, total production of food grains decreases. It creates a shortage of food and the price goes up. At the high prices, some people cannot afford to buy food and it may cause a situation of starvation.
Nothing like the Bengal Famine has happened in India again. But there are places where famine-like conditions have been existed for many years and where some starvation deaths have also been reported. Therefore, food security is needed in a country to ensure food at all times.