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Food Security in India

  • Date Submitted: 03/20/2011 04:00 PM
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Food Security in India

The ‘Report on the State of Food Insecurity in Rural India’ prepared by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation with support from the United Nation’s World Food Programme (UNWFP). The Report is in two parts. The first part examines the status of food and nutrition security in Rural India. Ranking of States based on their status has been done using seven indicators, viz., population consuming less than 1890 Kcal, access to safe drinking water, sanitation facility, women with anaemia, women with chronic energy deficiency, stunting in children and children with anemia and comparison made between two time periods. The thrust is on outcome indicators. It is observed 40 per cent of children under the age of three are underweight; the number of undernourished has increased substantially; there is rise in the level of anemia in women and children; and iodine and vitamin deficiencies are also rising. The Report also highlights that access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities have improved in rural India. Unless this aspect of food security is attended to with the involvement of local bodies (Panchayat Raj Institutions and Nagarpalikas), the food security situation in India will not show the desired improvement.

The second part of Report examines the major public food delivery systems – Public Distribution System (PDS), Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meals Scheme (MDMS). The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) has led to exclusion of large number of needy poor. The Report recommends a return to the ‘universal PDS’ that existed till 1997.

The Report also recommends universalization and effective implementation of ICDS and MDMS and employment generation programmes, like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Greater involvement of Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) in food delivery at the grassroot level and integration of food and nutrition security objectives in ongoing Government...

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