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Kerala PSC Indian Economy Book Study Materials Page 217Book's First Page
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.