Food Security in India

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India was ranked 107th among 123 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2022. With a score of 29.1, our country is in the serious hunger category. We are ranked lower than our neighboring countries like Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

Food security is all about supply of food and individuals’ access to it. According to the World Food Summit 1996, food security means all people should have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food at all times for meeting their dietary needs, helping them lead an active and healthy life. 

The FCI is a vital organization in the Indian farm economy.

Four Pillars of Food Security

Availability: Food availability includes supply, production, distribution, and exchange of food. It is influenced by a variety of factors including land ownership, soil management and crop selection.

Access: It mainly involves affordability and allocation of food. Poverty can limit an individual’s access to food. Hence, having enough income to purchase food or having sufficient land for growing food is crucial.

Utilization: It deals with the quantity and quality of food. The food shall be safe and should meet the physiological requirements of individuals. Food utilization is influenced by its safety and nutritional values.

Stability: The ability to obtain food over time is referred to as food stability. Food insecurity can be of different types, it can be either transitory, seasonal, or chronic.

  • Transitory food insecurity: Food may be unavailable during natural disasters, civil conflicts, and droughts.
  • Seasonal food insecurity: It can be the after effect of the regular pattern of growing seasons in food production.
  • Chronic food insecurity: Long-term, persistent lack of food is called chronic or permanent food insecurity.


The major famine in India was the Bengal famine of 1943. Several famine prevention measures were deployed during the drought of Maharashtra (1970-73). Famines in British India had a substantial impact on our population in the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Initiatives of the Government of India

Food Corporation of India

food corporation

FCI buys farm produce at minimum support prices. This acts as a major incentive for farmers. The procured food grains are then sold at discounted rates to the poor across the country.

FCI was set up on 14 January 1965.

It’s objectives are

  • Setting up effective prices for safeguarding the interests of the farmers
  • Distributing food grains to public distribution systems across the country.
  • Maintaining an adequate level of operational and buffer stocks of food grains for ensuring National Food Security.
  • Regulating market price. Making food grains available for consumers at a reliable price.


National Food for Work Programme

With the objective of creating supplementary wage employment, it was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development in the year 2004 in a few of the most backward districts of India . The program is open to all poor people who are ready to do manual unskilled labor.

Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)

In our country, kids under the age of 6 and their mothers are given food, preschool education, and primary healthcare through anganwadi centers. The program leads the fight against malnutrition and ill health, and combats gender inequality.

Public Distribution System (PDS)

It is primarily responsible for distributing subsidized food and non-food items to the poor people in our country. It was launched across the nation in June 1947. Through PDS, food items such as wheat, rice, sugar, and kerosene, are distributed through a network of fair price shops (ration shops) set up across India. The Food Corporation of India maintains the Public Distribution System.

National Food Security Act

The National Food Security Act, 2013 is also known as the Right to Food Act. It aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two-thirds of India’s total population. It converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programs of GOI including the Midday Meal Scheme and the ICDS scheme. It recognizes maternity entitlements as well.

Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)

It is a scheme for providing highly subsidized food to millions of poor Indians. It was launched by the NDA government in the year 2000 in the state of Rajasthan. Poor families were identified through surveys. Approximately 20,000,000 families have been covered under the scheme so far.

Minimum Support Price

The price at which the government purchases crops from the farmers is called the Minimum Support Price. It is an important aspect of India’s agricultural price policy. While giving incentives to farmers, it also ensures adequate food grain production. MSP ensures sufficient remuneration to the ryots, facilitates food grain supply to buffer stocks, and supports the food security programs.

Green Revolution

During this period, agricultural production in India increased due to improved agronomic technology. It started in the early 1960s and helped to increase agricultural production especially in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. High-yielding seeds and irrigation facilities helped in bringing about an agricultural revolution in the country. 

White Revolution (Operation Flood)

The world’s biggest dairy development program was launched in 1970. It was an initiative of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) of India. The project helped India become world’s largest milk producer (accounts for 22 percent of global production). Dairy farming is the country’s largest self-sustainable rural employment generator. 

Importance of food security

We all know that food is a fundamental human right. But still, around 805 million people in the world go hungry every day. 

Millennium Development Goals targets reducing hunger. 63 countries have already met their MDG targets. While regions like Latin America and Caribbean have improved ‘food security’, hunger continues to be a persistent issue in regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and Western Asia. 

UN support

The United Nations supports several anti-poverty programs in India for the welfare of the socially backward communities. This includes Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)  and the National Rural Livelihoods Mission. It assists government efforts to increase farm incomes as well.

Read more:Globalization


Check your knowledge

Answer) Food Corporation of India.

Answer) Availability, Access, Utilization and Stability.

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