Food Security and Public Distribution System
- October 30, 2020
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: MMN
Food Security and Public Distribution System
1. FOOD SECURITY
Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.
2. Food Security is based on Pillars and rights
|Pillars of Food security||Rights in Food security|
|1. Availability of Food (Physical Access):|
Food availability is determined by domestic production, import capacity, food stocks and food aid.
|2. Accessibility (Economic Access):|
Food is within reach of every person, there no barrier on access to food.
|3. Affordability (Nutritional Outcomes):|
An individual has enough money to buy sufficient safe and nutritious food to meet one’s dietary needs.
All persons have the capacity to buy food of acceptable quality.
|4. Utilization (Absorption)|
is the proper biological use of food, requiring a diet providing sufficient energy and essential nutrients, potable water, and adequate sanitation.
|5. Human dignity|
|7. Rule of law|
Fig: Framework for Pillars of Food security
2.1 Measuring Food Security in World
Global Hunger Index
Global Hunger Index report, jointly published by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Concern Worldwide, and Welthungerhilfe (WHH). The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool that measures and tracks hunger globally as well as by region and by country. The GHI is calculated annually, and its results appear in a report issued in October each year
The Global Hunger Index measures hunger on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in practice. The severity of hunger associated with the range of possible GHI scores is as follows
- Low ≤ 9.9
- Moderate 10.0-19.9
- Serious 20.0-34.9 [India 27.3 as of GHI 2020]
- Alarming 35.0-49.9
- Extremely alarming ≥ 50.0
The GHI combines 4 component indicators
- the proportion of the undernourished as a percentage of the population;
- the proportion of children under the age of five suffering from wasting, a sign of acute undernutrition;
- the proportion of children under the age of five suffering from stunting, a sign of chronic undernutrition; and
- the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
- India now ranks 94th among 107 countries in terms of hunger, and continues to be in the ‘severe’ hunger category according to the Global Hunger Index 2020. According to the study, 14% of India’s population is undernourished. India ranks lower than most of its South Asian neighbours – Pakistan (88), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (75), Sri Lanka (64) and Myanmar (78) – and only Afghanistan fares worse, at 99th place.
- One positive in the report on India is the reduction in under-five mortality. However, this doesn’t mean the problem is over: “India—the region’s most populous country—experienced a decline in under-five mortality in this period, driven largely by decreases in deaths from birth asphyxia or trauma, neonatal infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea.
- However, child mortality caused by prematurity and low birthweight increased, particularly in poorer states and rural areas.
- Prevention of prematurity and low birthweight is identified as a key factor with the potential to reduce under-five mortality in India, through actions such as better antenatal care, education, and nutrition as well as reductions in anemia and oral tobacco use.
2.2 Why India is Trailing in GHI Ranking
Let us understand it with Amartya Sen Idea of “Exchange Idea Decline”
- In Poverty and Famines, Amartya Sen introduced the idea of ‘exchange entitlement decline’ as a reason for starvation and famines. It is characterised by an adverse shift in the exchange value of endowments for food. It essentially means the occupation a section of people are engaged in is not remunerative enough to buy adequate food. Though Sen postulated this theory to describe reasons for famines, we may look at it to understand the hunger situation in our country. Sen talked about four categories of entitlement: ‘Production-based entitlement’ (growing food); ‘trade-based entitlement’ (buying food); ‘own-labour entitlement’ (working for food); and ‘inheritance and transfer entitlement’ (being given food by others).
- Production-based entitlement’ (growing food):One, the agriculture output from small and marginal holdings are either stagnant or declining due to reasons such as reduced soil fertility, fragmented lands or fluctuating market price of farm produce. Almost 50 million households in India are dependent on these small and marginal holdings. Though we have surplus food, most small and marginal farming households do not produce enough food grains for their year-round consumption. Example The production level has plateaued since Green revolution along with increasing land fragmentation as per agriculture census 2015
- Trade-based entitlement’ (buying food):Second, relative income of one section of people has been on the decline. This has adverse effects on their capacity to buy adequate food, especially when food prices have been on the rise. Example: Unemployment, The Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2017-18 revealed that rural unemployment stood at a concerning 6.1 per cent, which was the highest since 1972-73.
- Own-labour entitlement’ (working for food): Third, the kind of work a section of people have been doing are less remunerative or there is less opportunity to get remunerative works. Example: Less wages compared to inflation as in MGNREGA
- Inheritance and transfer entitlement’ (being given food by others): Fourth, the public distribution system (PDS) of the state is not functioning well or is not accessible to everyone. Example: Poor PDS system in India with Leakage and Inefficiency.
3. Evolution of Public Distribution and Food Security in India
From PDS to ONOC
- The policies of the British aimed at extracting the maximum possible revenue from the farmers and paid scant attention to improving the agricultural productivity. By then, the famines and the food shortages had become a recurring feature be it draught of 1873-74, 1899 or 1943 the food insecure condition of India was exposed.
- After a number of famines in the first half of the twentieth century, India established the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the 1940s. It was originally designed as a universal subsidy for cereals, which were purchased by the Indian Government from farmers at guaranteed prices, for sale to citizens at standardised prices.
- In the 1960s India was forced to import wheat from the US under the PL 480 scheme as it suffered from a severe shortage of food grain.
- The Green Revolution was initiated in the 1960’s to address the issue of malnutrition in the developing world. The technology of the Green Revolution involved bio-engineered seeds that worked in conjunction with chemical fertilizers and heavy irrigation to increase crop yields.
- In 1965, under the Food Corporation Act, 1964, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was set up in the Department, as the country was facing major shortage of food grains, especially wheat.
- The concept of buffer stock was first introduced during the 4th Five Year Plan (1969-74).At present, GoI prefers to use the term – Food grain stocking norms – which refers to the level of stock in the Central Pool that is sufficient to meet the operational requirement of food grains and exigencies at any point of time. Earlier this concept was termed as Buffer Norms and Strategic Reserve. As on June 2020 The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has 816.60 lakh tonnes of foodgrains in its buffer stocks to meet the requirements under the food law and other welfare schemes. About 55 lakh tonnes of foodgrains are required monthly under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes.
- Till 1992, PDS was a general entitlement scheme for all consumers without any specific target.Under TPDS, beneficiaries were divided into two categories: Households below the poverty line or BPL; and Households above the poverty line or APL.
- The Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) was launched in June, 1992 with a view to strengthen and streamline the PDS as well as to improve its reach in the far-flung, hilly, remote and inaccessible areas where a substantial section of the underprivileged classes lives.
- In 1997, it was changed to a mechanism that specifically targeted those Indians living below a poverty line determined by the government. Households that fell below the poverty line were given the opportunity to purchase up to ten kilograms of subsidised cereals (mostly wheat and rice) per month.
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY): AAY was a step in the direction of making TPDS aim at reducing hunger among the poorest segments of the BPL population. A National Sample Survey exercise pointed towards the fact that about 5% of the total population in the country sleeps without two square meals a day. In order to make TPDS more focused and targeted towards this category of population, the “Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 for one crore poorest of the poor families.
- National Food Security Mission (NFSM) was launched in 2007-08 to increase the production of rice, wheat and pulses through (i) area expansion and productivity enhancement, (ii) restoring soil fertility and productivity, (iii) Creating employment opportunities and (iv) enhancing farm level economy. Coarse cereals were also included in the Mission from 2014-15 under NFSM. The interventions covered under NFSM include cluster demonstrations on improved package of practices, demonstrations on cropping system, Seed distribution of high yielding varieties, farm machineries/resources conservation machineries/tools, efficient water application tools, plant protection measures, nutrient management/soil ameliorants, cropping system based trainings to the farmers etc.
- In September 2013, Parliament enacted the National Food Security Act, 2013. The Act relies largely on the existing TPDS to deliver food grains as legal entitlements to poor households. This marks a shift by making the right to food a justiciable right.
- Currently, ration cardholders can avail their entitlement of subsidised foodgrains under the National Food Security Act, only from the designated Fair price shop (FPS) within the concerned state. To address the grim state of food security in the country and combat the problem of hunger, the government has started the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ Currently, this scheme is applicable in several states and the central government seeks to implement this across the nation by June 2020.
4.International and National Obligation for Food Security
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): article 25 recognizes the right to an adequate standard of living, including food;
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR):article 11 recognizes the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, and the fundamental right to be free from hunger as a separate right (160 States Parties);
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),6 which recognizes in article 12 the right of pregnant and lactating women to special protection with regard to adequate nutrition and in article 14 the right of rural women to equal access to land, water, credit and other services, social security and adequate living conditions (186 States Parties); and
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC):article 25 recognizes the right to the highest attainable standard of health, and article 27 the right to an adequate standard of living which, in both articles, includes food and nutrition (193 States Parties).
- Sustainable Development Goal 2 aims to achieve “zero hunger”. It is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015. The official wording is: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”
- Constitutional recognition of the right to food can be divided into four broad categories: (i) Explicit and direct recognition, as a human right in itself or as part of another, broader human right; (ii) Right to food implicit in a broader human right; (iii) Explicit recognition of the right to food as a goal or directive principle within the constitutional order; and (iv) Indirect recognition, through interpretation of other human rights by the judiciary.
|Explicit and direct recognition, as a human right in itself or as part of another, broader human right||South Africa, Brazil|
|Right to food implicit in a broader human right||Pakistan, Turkey|
|Explicit recognition of the right to food as a goal or directive principle within the constitutional order||India, Bangladesh, Srilanka|
|Indirect recognition, through interpretation of other human rights by the judiciary.||The decision of the Supreme Court of India in both Kishen Pattnayak & another v. State of Orissa, and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v. Union of India and others28 has recognized the right to food under the right to life stipulated in article 21 of the Indian Constitution, with reference also to the Directive Principle of State Policy concerning nutrition, contained in article 47|
5. Constitutional Provision in India
Right to Food is inherent to a life with dignity, and Article 21 of the Constitution of India which guarantees a fundamental right to life and personal liberty should be read with Articles 39(a) and 47 to understand the nature of the obligations of the State in order to ensure the effective realization of this right. Article 39(a) of the Constitution, enunciated as one of the Directive Principles, fundamental in the governance of the country, requires the State to direct its policies towards securing that all its citizens have the right to an adequate means of livelihood, while Article 47 spells out the duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and standard of living of its people as a primary responsibility. The Constitution thus makes the Right to Food a guaranteed Fundamental Right which is enforceable by virtue of the constitutional remedy provided under Article 32 of the Constitution.
6. The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013
Government enacted that National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) in July 2013 with an intended coverage of upto 75% of rural population and upto 50% of urban population for receiving highly subsidized foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution System. One of the guiding principles of the Act is its life cycle approach wherein special provisions for supplementary nutrition have been made for pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years.
- Every pregnant woman and lactating mother is entitled to meal, free of charge, during pregnancy and six months after the child birth, through the local anganwadi.
- Every child in the age group of six months to six years, is entitled to age appropriate meal, free of charge, through the local anganwadi.
- In the case of children, up to class VIII or within the age group of six to fourteen years, whichever is applicable, one mid-day meal, free of charge is provided every day except on school holidays, in all schools run by local bodies, Government and Government aided schools.
- State Government through the local anganwadi, also identify and provide meals, free of charge, to children who suffer from malnutrition.
7. Critical Analysis of NFSA – 7 years of its inception still results are gloomy
The critical analysis of the Act reveals the following points –
- Exclusion: Millions of beneficiaries were denied their food grain entitlement for over more than a year due to the inability of State governments to identify the beneficiaries quickly. The implementation was delayed for over more than a year from the time of its implementation.
- Lack of universal maternity benefits: NFSA mandated the Central Government to provide all pregnant and lactating mothers a hot meal at the nearest anganwadi and a cash entitlement of Rs 6000. In Indira Gandhi MatritvaSahyogYojana (IGMSY) pregnant women and lactating mothers in 53 pilot districts were given only Rs 4000, however, they updated the amount to Rs 6000 according to NFSA but confined to 53 states and did not make it universal for entire India. Necessary steps must be taken it make it universal.
- The real women empowerment is not seen. Even though women above eighteen years under this scheme are considered as head of the households, use of food grains is still found to be decided by adult men. Thus, women only play a proxy role.
- The Food Security Models of the states of Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu are better than NFSA. As of 2012, Tamil Nadu eradicated 60% of poverty gap and Chhattisgarh wiped out 40% of poverty gap, due to implicit and extraordinary transfers through PDS. Tamil Nadu Government succeeded in food security because of its efficient PDS. In 2011, when this started, Tamil Nadu Government distributed free rice to all rice card and other ration at subsidized rates. It is a success because of the low amount of leakage and the Fair Price Shops are well monitored. Their main strategies are Universal PDS, a price stabilisation fund for procurement of essential commodities and distribution of essential commodities at a subsidised rate.
- The distribution of food grains is heavily relied on PDS. There is around 40% to 50% of leakage. The food grains are pilfered and are directed to open market. Steps must be taken to monitor PDS more efficiently to prevent any kind of leakages.
- The system of ‘one nation, one ration card’ is a theoretically a good one but there is no assurance if it will work 100%. Implementation of it is a big question. Particularly during the times of pandemic when lockdown is implemented, there is less production of food grains. It cannot be denied that the migrant labourers are in dire need of food grains but, the question is if the state has the capacity to provide food grains to ration card holders from other states?
- The main ration distributed are rice, wheat and dals. Pulses which have nutrient values are not given importance. There should be distribution of more pulses for nutritional security.
8. Food Subsidy
- The Central Issue Price (CIP) of foodgrains at which foodgrains are sold under different government schemes and allocations of quantity of foodgrains under Targeted Public Distribution Scheme (TPDS) and other welfare schemes are also fixed by the Government of India. The difference between the Economic Cost and the Central Issue Price is reimbursed by the Government of India as consumer subsidy to the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The economic cost includes MSP, procurement costs/incidentals and distribution costs. Various components of economic cost, procurement costs/incidentals and distribution costs are shown in Figure. The Government of India also reimburses the cost of carrying of buffer stock of foodgrains maintained by FCI as a part of subsidy.
8.1 Reasons for Rising Food Subsidy Bill
- During the last ten years, food subsidy has more than quadrupled from Rs. 23071 crores in 2005-06 to Rs crore 105509.41 in 2015-16 at current prices.
- Determinants of Food Subsidy
A. Economic Costs
- Rising Minimum Support Price
- Rising Procurement Incidentals
- Rising Distribution Costs
B. Central Issue Prices
C. Increasing Procurement of Foodgrains and Carrying Cost of Stocks
D. Increasing Allocation and offtake of food grains
- The procurement incidentals include statutory charges such as market fee, rural development/infrastructure development cess and VAT and non-statutory charges like dami/arhatia commission, mandi labour charges, cost of gunny bags, handling charges, internal transport and interest charges
- Distribution costs consisting of freight, interest, handling and storage charges, transit and storage losses and administrative overheads, and typically constitutes about 16-17 per cent of the pooled economic cost of foodgrains.
- MSP has increased on one side but on other side CIP has remained constant or decreased in many circumstances due to Socio-Political measures and populist schemes which has led to increase in Food subsidy bill
- Originally conceived as an instrument to achieve food price stabilization in few urban centres has gradually widened its reach and evolved into a major poverty alleviation programme with specific objective of providing food security to vulnerable sections of the society, increasing the allocation and off take of food grains thereby increasing food subsidy bill
9. Other Programmes for Food Security in India
9.1 National Food Security Mission
National Food Security Mission (NFSM) was launched in 2007-08 to increase the production of rice, wheat and pulses through (i) area expansion and productivity enhancement, (ii) restoring soil fertility and productivity, (iii) Creating employment opportunities and (iv) enhancing farm level economy. Coarse cereals were also included in the Mission from 2014-15 under NFSM. The interventions covered under NFSM include cluster demonstrations on improved package of practices, demonstrations on cropping system, Seed distribution of high yielding varieties, farm machineries/resources conservation machineries/tools, efficient water application tools, plant protection measures, nutrient management/soil ameliorants, cropping system based trainings to the farmers etc.
9.2 ICDS –Integrated Child Development Scheme
- To provide a sound base for overall development of children which includes nutritional security.
- Target groups of this scheme include children in the age group of 0 to 6 years, pregnant women, and lactating mothers.
- Services such as health, nutrition and early learning are provided at the village level through Anganwadi Centres across the country.
9.3 Mid-Day Meal
The Mid-day Meal Scheme is a school meal programme of the Government of India designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children nationwide. The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government aided, local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education centres, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labour. Tamil Nadu was the First State to state MDM
9.4 Antyodaya Anna Yojna
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana is the sponsored scheme of Government of India to provide highly subsidised food to millions of the poorest families. This scheme was developed by the then Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Shanta Kumar. It was launched on 25 December 2000 and first implemented in the State of Rajasthan.
- After identifying the “poorest of the poor” (the 10,000,000 poorest families in the Below Poverty Line category) through surveying, the government began providing them an opportunity to purchase up to 35 kilograms of rice and wheat at a highly subsidised cost of ₹3 per kilogram of rice and ₹2 per kilogram of wheat
- As per the guidelines issued by the Government, the AAY families are to be identified by States/Union Territories (UTs) as per the following criteria:
(i) Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans /craftsmen, such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitute and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas;
(ii) Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons/disabled persons/ persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support;
(iii) Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence;
(iv) All primitive tribal households;
(v) All eligible Below Poverty Line (BPL) families of HIV positive persons.
9.5 Discussed earlier – PDS, TPDS
10. Public Distribution System
What it is?
- Public distribution system is a government-sponsored chain of shops entrusted with the work of distributing basic food and non-food commodities to the needy sections of the society at very cheap prices.
- Nodal Ministry – Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution.
- PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State Governments.
- Central Govt. via FCI = Procurement + Storage + Transportation + Allocation of food grains to the State Governments
- State Governments= Operational responsibilities+ State allocation+ Identification of eligible families + Issue of Ration Cards + supervision of the functioning of Fair Price Shops (FPSs)
- Commodities covered (Vary state to state) – wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene, pulses, edible oils, iodized salt, spices, etc.
Modus Operandi of PDS
- The Central and State Governments share responsibilities in order to provide food grains to the identified beneficiaries.
- The centre procures food grains from farmers at a minimum support price (MSP)and sells it to states at central issue prices. It is responsible for transporting the grains to godowns in each state.
- States bear the responsibility of transporting food grains from these godowns to each fair price shop (ration shop), where the beneficiary buys the food grains at the lower central issue price. Many states further subsidise the price of food grains before selling it to beneficiaries.
Importance of PDS
- Ensuring Food and Nutritional Security of the nation by strengthening Pillars of Food security
- Stabilising food prices
- Maintain the buffer stock of food
- Redistribution of grains– Surplus regions of the country to deficient regions.
- Enhanced Food Grain Production – MSP assurance
- Stabilizing Farmers Income
Issues Associated with PDS System in India
- Identification of beneficiaries: Studies have shown that targeting mechanisms such as TPDS are prone to large inclusion and exclusion errors. For example According to the estimation of an expert group set up in 2009, PDS suffers from nearly 61% error of exclusion and 25% inclusion of beneficiaries, i.e. the misclassification of the poor as non-poor and vice versa.
- Leakage of food grains:(Transportation leakages + Black Marketing by FPS owners) TPDS suffers from large leakages of food grains during transportation to and from ration shops into the open market. In an evaluation of TPDS, the erstwhile Planning Commission found 36% leakage of PDS rice and wheat at the all-India level.
- Governance Issue:
- Poor Access to Public Services – Inefficiency
- Indifference, Apathy – Non Responsiveness
- Rampant corruption, Extortion by `Agents & Middlemen’- Weak Accountability
- Loose Systems & Weak Integrity – Abuse of Discretion
- Weak Civil Society – Low Demand for Good Governance
- Issue with procurement: Open-ended Procurement i.e., all incoming grains accepted even if buffer stock is filled, creates a shortage in the open market.
- Issues with storage: A performance audit by the CAG has revealed a serious shortfall in the government’s storage capacity. Given the increasing procurement and incidents of rotting food grains, the lack of adequate covered storage is bound to be a cause for concern.
- Poor quality of food grains
- The provision of minimum support price (MSP)has encouraged farmers to divert land from production of coarse grains that are consumed by the poor, to rice and wheat and thus, discourages crop diversification.
- Environmental issues: The over-emphasis on attaining self-sufficiency and a surplus in food grains, which are water-intensive, has been found to be environmentally unsustainable. Procuring states such as Punjab and Haryana are under environmental stress, including rapid groundwater depletion, deteriorating soil and water conditions from overuse of fertilisers.
- Role of Aadhar: Integrating Aadhar with TPDS will help in better identification of beneficiaries and address the problem of inclusion and exclusion errors. According to a study by the Unique Identification Authority of India, using Aadhaar with TPDS would help eliminate duplicate beneficiaries, and make identification of beneficiaries more accurate.
- Universalisation to Minimize exclusion
For many years, many eminent scholars have been proposing universal food security legislation instead of a targeted one that excludes many deserving persons
- Trained and ethical Human resource
A separate cadre of government employees be established for this purpose and stationed at all the FPS. They could be called Ration Inspectors and their job would be to ensure impartial and hassle-free delivery of food grains from the FPS. To ensure impartial discharge of duties by such ration inspectors, the existing Lokpal framework can be utilized.
- Diversifying Products
Finally, the central and state governments should consider diversifying and expanding products available at fair price shops to help households meet nutritional needs while stabilising local food prices. The short-term introduction of free lentils via the PDS system is welcome.
- Technology for Quality Check
Use of upcoming technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things could be urgently adapted to eliminate the menace of adulteration and bad quality food grains, which is quite rampant.
- Technology-based reforms of TPDS implemented by states: Wadhwa Committee,appointed by the Supreme court, found that certain states had implemented computerisation and other technology-based reforms to TPDS. Technology-based reforms helped plug leakages of food grains during TPDS.
- Tamil Nadu implements a universal PDS,such that every household is entitled to subsidised food grains.
- States such as Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have implemented IT measures to streamline TPDS, through the digitisation of ration cards, the use of GPS tracking of delivery, and the use of SMS based monitoring by citizens.
- Upgrading Technology like from GPS to Block Chain
Food grains are first procured by the government under the Minimum Support Price. Then, they go to millers identified by the government for hulling and are returned to the government. Next, food grains are moved to the State godowns from where they are further moved to the Block godowns within the State by selected transporters. Finally, from the Block godowns, food grains are sent to the Fair Price Shops for distribution.This entire supply chain can be a part of blockchain using the distributed ledger technology. With the help of blockchain technology, every point where the product is moved and then stopped for collection or storage gets stored in the electronic ledger. This way the food grain can be tracked from the place where it is despatched to its destination. Now we are using GPS which needs to be replaced as its not full proof.
11. Cash Coupon vs Subsidy Dilemma
Many times a voice is raised from many segments that PDS be replaced by Cash vouchers or direct cash transfers in their account, so lets us look into the pros and cons of Cash Voucher system
A study, recently published by the Indian Council on Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said direct bank transfers (DBT) would work better than the existing targeted Public Distribution Scheme (tPDS)
- Plugs Leakage: Proponents of substituting PDS grain transfers with cash argue that PDS is an inefficient mode of transfer of subsidies, prone to enormous leakages into the black market, and high waste in costs of transferring subsidies in the form of food transfers. They argue that replacing food with direct cash transfers would greatly reduce corruption and leakages.
- Nutritional Security and freedom of choice: They have freedom to purchase food product as per their dietary needs and wants
- Will Reduce wastage: Providing subsidies directly to the poor, it is further argued, would both bypass brokers as well as reduce the waste and holding costs of storing grains in government silos. The amount of grain actually required for India’s buffer stock needs could be held in better-quality warehouses, eliminating waste and rotting.
- Will reduce fiscal deficit and food subsidy bill: Cash transfers would help reduce fiscal deficit by curbing expenditures earmarked for the PDS that are siphoned off through corruption, as well as avoiding substantially higher costs of transferring food rather than cash.
- Reduce Inventory Cost: FCI, CWC and state corporations pay huge cost for storing food grains, the inventory cost will be minimum in this system
- Competition and Quality: Now consumer can purchase from any shop he wants, so it will create a sense of competition among all players in market leading to better quality and services.
Not leakage proof: Critics argue that the cash transfer cannot bring about any drastic reduction in leakages and corruption. Moreover, the leakages and corruption can be curbed to a great extent, they say, by enhancing the state capacity and reforming the subsidy delivery systems
Misuse of Cash: It is also possible for people to spend cash transfers not on more nutritious food, as proponents suggest, but instead on non-food items, which would decrease the amount of household money left for buying food.
Weak Digital Infrastructure: The government wants to use JAM trinity—Jan-DhanYojana, Aadhaar and Mobile for cash transfer, but it is a distant dream as infrastructure for this has not developed till now and many poorest of the poor will be excluded. The revolutionary spread of mobile phones in India offers an unprecedented opportunity for redesigning state delivery mechanisms but still itsits penetration in Rural India is not upto mark. According to a study Banks and CSCs were 6 km away for more than 20% of households which meant that they spent over 13 hours every month, on average, collecting their benefits. Consequently, around 13% of the households lost more than 5 working days in the entire process, forgoing wages greater than the subsidy amount itself.
PDS a shield against Inflation: Another advantage of PDS over cash transfers from the perspective of the poor is that PDS supplies rations at a constant price, irrespective of the fluctuations in market prices. This therefore provides a shield against inflation, a benefit that cash transfers cannot match.
Stablizefarmers income: PDS requires the government to procure food from farmers. The government builds up stocks of grains which are also useful for price stabilization. Indeed, the guarantee of minimum support price purchase by the government for wheat and rice is the most important instrument for the protection of farmers’ income in India, and this would become unfeasible if the government could not offload a lot of this grain back through the PDS.
Far Flung Areas: In our country do not have arrangement for any shops for purchase of foods and grains, instead they had to travel a far place for these at least fair price shops can come at rescue at those places.
12. Chhattisgarh Model of PDS
How it is effective and different from other states
- Nutritional security with Diverse basket: The state provides pulse, gram, sugar, iodized salt to the beneficiaries to ensure nutrition security in addition to food security. Around 90% of the people in Chhattisgarh have been provided with both food and nutritional security.
- First in the country: The state became the first state to provide ‘Right-to-Food’ to its people and made it into a law. Under Chhattisgarh Food Security Act, 2.32 crore people are reaping the benefits. Landless labourers, small farmers having a land holding up to 5 acres, unorganized labourers like barbers, shoe-makers, carpenters etc have been included in the priority list under the act.
- Power to Consumer: From the 2014, the state government started implementing the Core PDS scheme. According to this scheme, the ration shop owners are answerable to the consumers. This scheme has won many national awards.
- Freedom to consumer: The state has launched ‘Meri Marji’scheme in 2012 which is in operation in selected districts. According to this scheme, consumers can buy rations from the shops of their choice under the Core PDS system.
- De-Privatisation: One of the early steps towards PDS reform was the “de-privatising” of ration shops. In Chhattisgarh, private dealers were allowed to get licences for PDS shops from 2001 onwards (before that, PDS shops were run by the state co-operatives network). This measure allowed the network of ration shops to widen, but also created a new nexus of corrupt players whereby dealers paid politicians to get licences as well as protection when they indulged in corrupt practices. In 2004, the government reversed this order (despite fierce opposition from the dealers) and put Gram Panchayats, Self-Help Groups, Van Suraksha Samitis and other community institutions in charge of the ration shops. Aside from bringing ration shops closer to people’s homes, this helped to impart some accountability in the PDS. When people run their own ration shop, there is little incentive to cheat, since that would be like cheating themselves. Community institutions such as Gram Panchayats are not necessarily “people’s institutions” but, nevertheless, they are easier for people to influence than corrupt middlemen or the government’s bureaucratic juggernaut.
- Doorstep Delivery:Another major reform was to ensure “doorstep delivery” of the PDS grain. This means that grain is delivered by state agencies to the ration shop each month, instead of dealers having to lift their quotas from the nearest godown. How does this help? It is well known that corrupt dealers have a tendency to give reduced quantities to their customers and sell the difference in the black market (or rather the open market). What is less well understood is that the diversion often happens before supplies reach the village. When the grain is delivered to the ration shop, in the village, it is much harder for the dealers to siphon it off without opposition. Truck movements from the godowns to the ration shops are carefully monitored and, if a transporter cheats, the dealers have an incentive to mobilise local support to complain, as we found had happened in one village.
- Rigorous Monitoring: rigorous monitoring, often involving creative uses of technology. For instance, a system of “SMS alerts” was launched to inform interested citizens (more than 15,000 have already registered) of grain movements, and all records pertaining to supplies, sales, timelines, etc. were computerised.
- Grievance Redressal: Perhaps the most important step was improved grievance redressal, based, for instance, on active helplines. Apparently, the helplines are often used by cardholders, and if a complaint is lodged, there is a good chance of timely response. Further, action is not confined to enquiries — in many cases, FIRs have been lodged against corrupt middlemen and it is not uncommon for them to land in jail (there was at least one recent case in Lakhanpur itself).
- Wide Coverage:Today, close to 80 per cent of the rural population — including all SC/ST households — is entitled to PDS grain at either one or two rupees per kilo
13. Challenges and Strategies for Food Security
13.1 Climate Change and Food security
Schematic diagram shows how climate change will impact Pillars of food security and Human Health
13.2 Adaptive and Mitigation Measures to Contain Impact of Climate Change
|ADAPTIVE MEASURES||MITIGATION MEASURES|
|FAO’s Strategic Approach||Reducing emissions |
|ManagingUncertainty and risks||Sequestering carbon |
|Strengthening resilience and managing change |
I. Adaptive Measures
a. FAO’s Strategic Measures
- Protecting local food supplies, assets and livelihoods against the effects of increasing weather variability and increased frequency and intensity of extreme events, through:
- general risk management;
- management of risks specific to different ecosystems – marine, coastal, inland water and floodplain, forest, dryland, island, mountain, polar, cultivated;
- research and dissemination of crop varieties and breeds adapted to changing climatic conditions;
- introducing tree crops to provide food, fodder and energy and enhance cash incomes.
- Avoiding disruptions or declines in global and local food supplies due to changes in temperature and precipitation regimes, through:
- more efficient agricultural water management in general;
- more efficient management of irrigation water on rice paddies; improved management of cultivated land;
- improved livestock management; use of new, more energy-efficient technologies by agro-industries.
- Protecting ecosystems, through provision of such environmental services as:
- use of degraded or marginal lands for productive planted forests or other cellulose biomass for alternative fuels;
- Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) carbon sink tree plantings;
- watershed protection; prevention of land degradation;
- protection of coastal areas from cyclones and other coastal hazards;
- preservation of mangroves and their contribution to coastal fisheries;
- biodiversity conservation.
b. Managing Uncertainty and Risks
- Adapting to climate change involves managing risk by improving the quality of information and its use, providing insurance against climate change risk, adopting known good practices to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable livelihood systems, and finding new institutional and technological solutions.
- Promoting Insurance Scheme for Climate Change: Scheme like PMFBY may be implemented effectively its coverage for climate change may also be broadened
- Developing National Risk Management Policy
- Frameworks should include pre-event preparedness, risk mitigating strategies, reliable and timely early warning and response systems, and innovative risk financing instruments to spread residual risks. Elements of such frameworks that are applicable for both rural and urban populations in all ecosystems include effective early warning systems; emergency shelters, provisions and evacuation procedures; and weather related insurance schemes.
Figure: Impact Assessment of Climate change
c. STRENGTHENING RESILIENCE AND MANAGING CHANGE In addition to risk management, climate change also requires adaptive management that focuses on modifying behaviours over the medium-to-long term to cope with gradual changes in precipitation and temperature regimes. These modifications are likely to concern consumption patterns, health care, food and agricultural production practices, sources and use of energy, and livelihood strategies. Strengthening resilience for all vulnerable people involves adopting practices that enable them to: protect existing livelihood systems; diversify their sources of food and income; change their livelihood strategies; migrate if there is no other option. Additional action areas that can strengthen resilience of agriculture-based livelihood systems include: research and dissemination of crop varieties and breeds adapted to changing climatic conditions; effective use of genetic resources; promotion of agroforestry, integrated farming systems and adapted forest management practices; improved infrastructure for small-scale water capture, storage and use; improved soil management practices.
II. Mitigation Measures
a. Reducing emissions
- Reducing agricultural and forestry emissions of carbon dioxide
- Reducing agricultural emissions of methane and nitrous oxide
b. Sequestering carbon
- Reforestation and afforestation
- Rehabilitating degraded grasslands
- Rehabilitating cultivated soils
- Promoting conservation agriculture
13.3 National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture
National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA)
- It is a network project of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR) launched in
- The project aims to enhance resilience of Indian agriculture to climate changeand climate vulnerability through strategic research and technology demonstration.
- The research on adaptation and mitigation covers crops, livestock, fisheries and natural resource management.
- The project consists of four components:
- Strategic Research
- Technology Demonstration
- Capacity Building
- Sponsored or Competitive Grants
- Under this project, large number of indigenous genetic resources and improved crop varieties of pulses (black gram, green gram, pigeon pea, chickpea) and cereals (rice and wheat) are screened for major abiotic stresses like drought and heat to identify superior cultivars for large scale adoption in farmer’s fields genetic materials for cultivation at farmers field.
- In the process number of genetic materials including improved varieties were identified, some of which are already in the farmer’s fields.
- Besides, location specific NRM technologies are being demonstrated under Technology Demonstration Component of NICRA in 151 climatically vulnerable districts to achieve climate resilient agriculture.
14. National Food and Nutritional Security Analysis Report
According to the National Food and Nutrition Security Analysis report, malnutrition amongst children in India is projected to remain high, despite all the progress made in food security.
- National Food and Nutrition Security Analysis report, was developed in partnership between the World Food Programme (WFP)and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India.
Findings of the Report
- The slow decline of child stunting: Over the last decade, child stunting has reduced at a rate of about 1% per year, the slowest decline among emerging economies. At this rate, 31.4% of children will still be stunted by the 2022 deadline.
Almost one in three Indian children under five years will still be stunted by 2022 going by current trends.
- Access to nutritious food has not increased: Foodgrain yields have risen 33% over the last two decades, but are still only half of 2030 target yields
The consumer’s access to rice, wheat and other cereals has not increased at the same rate, due to population growth, inequality, food wastage and losses, and exports. As a result, the average per capita consumption of energy among the poorest 30% of the population is 1811 kilocalories, much lower than the norm of 2155 kilocalories per day.
- Under and overnutrition: For several decades India was dealing with only one form of malnutrition- undernutrition. However, in the last decade, the double burden which includes both over- and undernutrition, is becoming more prominent and poses a new challenge for India.
- Despite positive trends and patterns in improving food security, the prevalence of malnutrition in India remains high, with many people, especially women and children, suffering from micronutrient deficiency.
- Performance of States: In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh the stunting rate is around 48% and 46% respectively. It shows that in these states almost every 2nd child is stunted.
- Whereas in Kerala and Goa, it is only one in five children.
- The most vulnerable: There are high rates of stunting among children in the poorest wealth quintile is (51.4%), Scheduled Tribes (43.6%) and Scheduled Castes (42.5%), and children born to mothers with no education (51%).
Recommendations are grouped by the three pillars of food security: availability, access and utilisation.
- Farmers should be encouraged and incentivised for agricultural diversification.
- Innovative and low-cost farming technologies, increase in the irrigation coverage and enhancing knowledge of farmers in areas such as appropriate use of land and water should be encouraged to improve the sustainability of food productivity.
- The government should improve policy support for improving agricultural produce of traditional crops in the country.
- Storage capacity should be improved to prevent post-harvest losses.
- The targeting efficiency of all food safety nets should be improved, especially that of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), to ensure that the poorest are included. In addition, fortification of government-approved commodities within the social safety net programmes can improve nutritional outcomes.
- Child feeding practices should be improved in the country, especially at the critical ages when solid foods are introduced to the diet.
Fortification, diversification and supplementation may be used as simultaneous strategies to address micro and macronutrient deficiencies.
- There is a need for more robust measures that can take cognizance of all aspects of SDG 2. Target 2.1:By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular, the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. Target 2.2: By 2030, end-all forms of malnutrition, including achieving, by 2025, the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age, and address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons
- All the major welfare programmes need to be gender sensitive.
15. World Food Programme and its Role in India
What it is?
The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food-assistance branch of the United Nations. It is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, the largest one focused on hunger and food security, and the largest provider of school meals. Founded in 1961, it is headquartered in Rome and has offices in 80 countries. In addition to emergency food relief, WFP offers technical assistance and development aid, such as building capacity for emergency preparedness and response, managing supply chains and logistics, promoting social safety programs, and strengthening resilience against climate change. The agency is also a major provider of direct cash assistance and medical supplies, and provides passenger services for humanitarian workers. The World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for its efforts to provide food assistance in areas of conflict, and to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
Famous Works world wide
- In 2008, WFP coordinated the five-year Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project. P4P assists smallholding farmers by offering them opportunities to access agricultural markets and to become competitive players in the marketplace. The project spanned across 20 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and trained 800,000 farmers in improved agricultural production, post-harvest handling, quality assurance, group marketing, agricultural finance, and contracting with WFP.
- In 2010, WFP responded to the 2010 Haiti earthquake by distributing food aid only to women, as experience built up over almost five decades of working in emergency situations has demonstrated that giving food only to women helps to ensure that it is spread evenly among all household members. School-feeding and/or take-home ration programmes in 71 countries help students focus on their studies and encourage parents to send their children, especially girls, to school.
- In 2017, WFP launched the Building Blocks programme. It aims to distribute money-for-food assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan. The project uses blockchain technology to digitize identities and allow refugees to receive food with eye scanning.
- In 2020, WFP was feeding more than 12 million Yemenis a month, 80% of whom were in areas controlled by Houthi forces.
WFP in India
WFP has been working in India since 1963, with work transitioning from food distribution to technical assistance since the country achieved self-sufficiency in cereal production. With the Government now providing its own food distribution systems, our work focuses on supporting the strengthening of these systems to ensure they become more efficient and reach the people who need them most
- India is the second most populous country in the world, it has enjoyed steady economic growth and has achieved self-sufficiency in grain production in recent years. Despite this, high levels of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition persist.
- Around 25 percent of the population lives on less than US$1.90 a day, and levels of inequality and social exclusion are very high.
- India is home to a quarter of all undernourished people worldwide, making the country a key focus for tackling hunger on a global scale.
- In the last two decades, per capita income more than tripled, yet the minimum dietary intake fell.
- The gap between rich and poor increased during this period of high economic growth.
Focus Areas of WFP are:
- Food and Nutrition Security.
- Strengthening food-based safety nets.
- Policy reform to enhance food and nutrition security.
- Fortification of food.
- Food security mapping and analysis.
- Addressing nutrition concerns during the first 1000 days of life.
- Addressing nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and older persons
Gold Medalist Bsc and Msc Agriculture Science
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