ri    lt re and ood         ana ement        8.23
          The biggest and most cited of such                people in India, specially in rural areas, are lower
     programmes is Brazil’s Bolsa Familia. It started in    than normal.31 As per the State of Food Insecurity
     2001, with a programme aimed at education. It          in the World, 2015 (FAO), India has the second
     expanded in 2003 to include a range of services        highest number of undernourished people at
     like food and fuel, and now covers 2.6 million         194.6 million which is around 15.2 per cent of
     families in that country. The government transfers     the world’s total undernourished population.
     cash straight to a family, subject to conditions such       Two important things need attention
     as school attendance, nutritional monitoring, pre-     regarding India’s food security –
     natal and post-natal tests. By many measures,
                                                                 (i) Around 27 per cent of India’s population
     the programme is a success. Brazil’s poverty
                                                                       is BPL and a greater portion (one
     levels dropped by 15 percentage points between
                                                                       conservative estimate puts it at 75 per
     2003 and 2009, at least a sixth, thanks to Bolsa
                                                                       cent) of their household income is spent
     Familia (economic growth played a big part, too.)
                                                                       on food.
     Millenium Development Goals initiative, which
     in 2000 sought to halve poverty by 2015, doesn’t           (ii) There is a strong correlation between
     even mention cash transfers. But, Brazil achieved                 stability in agricultural production and
     the goals 10 years ahead of the deadline. And the                 food security. Volatility in agricultural
     cost of these transfers has been 0.4 per cent of                  production impacts food supplies and
     GDP.                                                              can result in spikes in food prices, which
          The big question is not whether a direct cash                adversely affect the lowest income groups
     transfer is the perfect solution, but whether it’s                of the population.
     an improvement over the existing systems. The               Therefore, along with provision of food
     evidence—its success in other parts of the world—      subsidy, stability in agricultural commodity prices
     and the poor performance of indirect subsidies so      is essential for making the poorer sections food
     far would suggest so. Looking at it, the GoI has       secure. It means, in the direction of assuring food
     already started a pan-India scheme to disburse all     security, India needs to tackle mainly two hurdles–
     forms of subsidies directly, through the Direct             (i) Enhancing its food production: If food
     Benefit Transfer (DBT) since 2015–16 onwards.                     (i.e., foodgrains) is to be supplied to all
                                                                       today India will face deficit of around 30
        Food securIty                                                  million tonnes of foodgrains. This shows
                                                                       the food insecurity dimension of India.
     India attained self-sufficiency in food by late 1980s,
     though food security still evades the country. Food        (ii) Strengthening supply chain: Managing the
     security means making food available at affordable                issues like storage, transportation, proper
     prices at all times, to all, without interruptions.               retailing and integrating the segmented
     Though India’s GDP growth has been impressive                     agri-markets into a national agrimarket.
     and the agricultural production has also increased          Due to high level of undernourishment and
     over the past few decades, hunger and starvation       volatility in agricultural prices, India has one of
     still persist among the poorer sections of the         the largest number of food schemes in the World
     population.                                            to ensure food security –
          Lack of food security hampers the nutritional
                                                              31.    66th Round (2009-10) and 68th Round (2011-12) of the
     profile of the vulnerable section of the population.            NSSO, as quoted by the Economic Survey 2015-16,
     Calorie and protein intake of a large number of                 op. cit., Vol. 2, p.117.