Open In App
Related Articles

Food Security in India

Improve Article
Save Article
Like Article

Food subsidy and also its implementation is an important aspect of the Government of India for attaining food security for all its citizens. The article gives us an idea about food subsidies, Public Distribution systems, and also the challenges which are faced in ensuring food security for all in India.

Food Security in India

Food Security in India

Food Security

Food security has a different meaning as it is something more than getting two square meals. It means accessibility, availability, and affordability of food to all the people at all times whenever there is a shortage of food or crops then the poor household is the most vulnerable to food insecurity because it is dependent on the public distribution system. Dimensions of food security are,

  • Availability of Food: It means the production and availability of food within the country as food imports and last year’s stock stored in government granaries.
  • Accessibility of Food: It means every individual should be accessible to food or food should be within reach of every person.
  • Affordability of Food: It implies that every individual should be capable of earning or having the such amount of money to buy sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet one dietary needs.

Important Statistics of Food Security in India

Food security is one of the major concerns of India as most parts of India face food insecurity. Following are some important statistics on food security in India:

  1. There are around 195 million undernourished people in India according to UN-India and this accounts for a quarter of the world’s hunger burden.
  2. Around 43 percent of the children in India are undernourished.
  3. People who are situated below the Poverty line seem to have been reduced to 22 percent between the years 2011-2012.
  4.  India is ranked 76th out of 113 countries, which is being assessed on the basis of The Global Food Security Index.
  5. According to the ranking of 2020, India is ranked 71st out of 113 countries.
  6.  According to Global Hunger Index, 2020, India has been ranked 94th position of 107 countries.
  7. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, in a 2020 report stated that the prevalence of undernourishment has declined from 21.7%.

Laws on Food Security in India

The parliament of India, for providing the Right to Food for every citizen, enacted the legislation in the year 2013, which came to be known as the National Food Security Act of 2013. This Act is also referred to as the Right to Food Act, and this Act helps in seeking subsidized food grains for over two-thirds of the population of India. Food security refers to the foundation on which the famous National Food Security Act 2013 has been implemented in India.

National Food Security Bill, 2013

  1. The National Food Security Bill has been introduced in Lok Sabha on 7th August 2013.
  2. The Bill came to be passed in Lok Sabha on 26th August 2013.
  3. National Food Security Bill was passed in the House of Rajya Sabha on 2nd September 2013.

Food Security Programmes of India

The important steps which are taken for the food security programs of India are as follows:

  1.  Public Distribution System:  Major portion of the expenditure of the government is spent on food subsidies through Targeted Public Distribution System.
  2. Mid-Day Meal Scheme
  3. Integrated Child Development Services Scheme

Recent Initiatives and Programs Introduced by Government for Food Security

  • National Food Security Mission.
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
  • Integrated Schemes on Oilseeds, Pulses, Palm oil, and Maize (ISOPOM).
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
  • National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Implementation of Food Subsidy in India

Over the years, we can find that the spending on food subsidies has increased, but the ratio of people who were below the poverty line seems to have decreased. The food subsidy is implemented through the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.

Department of Food and Public Distribution

The Department of Food and Public Distribution has been allocated an amount of Rs. 2,42,836 crores and the objectives of this department are for ensuring Food security through the actions of following:

  1. Food procurement
  2. Distribution of food grains
  3. Regulating the sugar sector

Food Subsidy

Food subsidy is mostly calculated as the difference between the economic cost of procuring the food grains and their Central Issue Price. The Department of Food and Public Distribution is given the food subsidy to the Food Corporation of India and states. These bodies procure food grains from the farmers and are known as Minimum Support Prices(MSP).

3 Components of Food Subsidy

Three important components of food subsidy include:

  1. The subsidy is given to the Food Corporation of India
  2. Subsidy which is given to the states
  3. Sugar Subsidy

Challenges to Food Subsidy Delivery

There are various challenges that are faced in relation to Food Subsidies and their implementation in using the Public Distribution system. Most of the challenges associated with it are:

Public Distribution System and Leakages

Leakages estimated in 2011 in Public Distribution System was around 47% and the reasons are as listed below:

  1. Damages in food grains during transportation.
  2. Pilferage of the food items.
  3. Diversification of food grains to some non-beneficiaries at a fair which is at a fair price shop by the issue of fraud cards.
  4. Exclusion of some people from the entitled food grains but not in the beneficiary list.

Challenges to Food Security

  • Climate Change: Farming is becoming more difficult due to rising temperatures and unreliable rainfall. Climate change affects not just crops, but also cattle, forests, fisheries, and aquaculture, and can have serious social and economic implications, such as lower incomes, destroyed livelihoods, trade disruptions, and negative health effects.
  • Access to isolated regions is limited: Tribal tribes have experienced substantial economic backwardness as a result of living in remote, harsh terrains and practicing subsistence farming.
  • Increasing rural-to-urban migration, as well as a significant informal sector, has resulted in the unplanned rise of slums that lack basic health and hygiene amenities, inadequate housing, and increased food insecurity.
  • Overcrowding, poverty, a lack of education, and gender inequality are all factors. Food distribution through public distribution channels is insufficient (PDS i.e. Public Distribution System). 
  • Non-ownership of a below-poverty line: (BPL) status excludes deserving beneficiaries of the subsidy, as the threshold for determining a household’s BPL status is arbitrary and varies from state to state.
  • Bio-fuels: As the bio-fuel industry has grown, the amount of land utilized to grow food crops has decreased.
  • Food may be used as a weapon in conflict, with foes cutting off the food supply to gain ground. Crops might be damaged as well during a fight.
  • Unmonitored nutrition programs: Although there are a lot of nutrition-related programs planned in the country, they are not being adequately executed. 

Solutions to Problems in Food Subsidy Delivery

The following are important solutions for addressing the problems which are associated with PDS:

  1. Replacement of Targeted Public Distribution System by that of Direct Benefit Transfer.
  2. Another method would be the automation process at the fair price shops.
  3. The use of Aadhar and also the introduction of biometrics were useful for the reduction of leakage in PDS.
  4. Digitalization of the ration cards.
  5. Decentralized procurement by states and reduction of expenditure on centralized procurement.

International Organisations Ensuring Food Security

  1. Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO): Established in 1945 and the headquarters was in Rome, Italy. It was the specialized agency that leads international efforts for the reduction of hunger and improved nutrition and food security.
  2. World Food Programme (WEP): One of the largest humanitarian organizations which address hunger and also promotion of food security, in Rome, Italy.
  3. World Bank: It was first established in 1994 and the headquarters is situated in Washington.

Related Links

  1. Agriculture and Food Security
  2. What is food security?
  3. Programmes to Improve Food Security in India
  4. Which States are more food insecure in India?

FAQs on Food Security In India

Q 1. What is important for food security?


The prevalence of food security is possible when all people of different social and economic backgrounds have access to nutritious food which meets their dietary needs.

Q 2. How is food security achieved?


Food security can be achieved through education and literacy, tackling climate change, improvement in technology which is adopted, integrated nutrient management, and so forth.

Q 3. What are the four levels of food security?


The four levels of food security include availability, access, use and utilization, and stability.

Last Updated : 16 Aug, 2023
Like Article
Save Article
Similar Reads
Related Tutorials