Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

[op-ed snap] For nutrition security: On undernourishment


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Poverty & development issues

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report, National Food Security Act

Mains level: State of undernourishment in India & Government interventions for same


Report on food security

  1. The UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report for 2017 has important pointers to achieve nutrition policy reform
  2. India remains lacking in the commitment to tackle undernourishment
  3. At the global level, the five agencies that together produced the assessment found that the gains achieved on food security and better nutrition since the turn of the century may be at risk

Deprivation on the rise

  1. The estimate of 815 million people enduring chronic food deprivation in 2016, compared to 775 million in 2014, is depressing in itself
  2. The deprivation is even greater among people who live in regions affected by conflict and the extreme effects of climate change
  3. The report says that child under-nutrition rates continue to drop, although one in four children is still affected by stunting

Reasons for food scarcity

  1. The impact of the economic downturn
  2. Many violent conflicts
  3. Fall in commodity export revenues
  4. Failure of agriculture owing to drought and floods

India’s efforts

  1. India’s efforts at improving access to food and good nutrition are led by the National Food Security Act
  2. There are special nutritional schemes for women and children operated through the States
  3. In spite of such interventions, 14.5% of the population suffers from undernourishment, going by the UN’s assessment for 2014-16. At the national level, 53% of women are anemic.

Way Forward

  1. The report on nutritional deficiency should serve as an opportunity to evaluate the role played by the PDS in bringing about dietary diversity for those relying on subsidized food
  2. The NITI Aayog found that families below the poverty line consumed more cereals and less milk compared to the affluent
  3. Complementing rice and wheat with more nutritious food items should be the goal
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