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Food security-debates


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Now an Act has been passed for Food security in India. Its implementation would be a national achievement to be appreciated.

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Food security-debates

  1. 1. NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY – DEBATE: INDIA • Govt. of India, National Advisory Council , • A phased programme, Meet in October, 2010 ************ NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY CIVIL SOCEITY DEBATES • What is ‘food insecurity’ & how it may be eliminated for poor people and children, • Early childcare, ICDS, Pre-primary education, • Targeted / Universal Public Distribution System, • Agri -minister’s Views, • M S Swaminathan, Amartya K Sen, • Right to food campaign, other arguments, facts
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  3. 3. The National Advisory Council (NAC) Provided a broad framework
  4. 4. The National Advisory Council • A broad framework to achieve the goal of food for all and forever: • The NAC's suggestions include the swift initiation of • programmes to insulate pregnant and nursing mothers, infants in the age group of zero to three, and other disadvantaged citizens, from hunger and malnutrition. • Such special nutrition support programmes may need annually about 10 million tonnes of food grains. 4
  5. 5. The NAC has stressed that in the design of the delivery system there should be • a proper match between challenge and response, as for example, • the starting of community kitchens in urban areas to ensure that the needy do not go to bed hungry. • Pregnant women should get priority. 5
  6. 6. NAC Meet: Food Grain Entitlement Programme NAC takes a holistic approach to the issue, with broad concerns about the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable, suggesting 8 different entitlements for them apart from the PDS., such as comprehensive nutrition support schemes for infants, pre-school children, school children, welfare hostel students, adolescent girls, pregnant women, street children, the homeless, the aged, the infirm, the differently abled, those living with leprosy, TB, HIV/AIDS etc., together with community kitchens and feeding the destitute. 6
  7. 7. • The NAC has proposed a phased programme of implementation of the goal of universal public distribution system. • This will start with either one-fourth of the districts or blocks in 2011-12 and cover the whole country by 2015, • on lines similar to that adopted for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGP). 7
  8. 8. This will provide time to develop infrastructure such as • grain storage facilities and • Village Knowledge Centres and • the issue of Household Entitlements Passbooks. The NAC is developing inputs for the proposed Food Security Act covering legal entitlements and enabling provisions based on the principle of common but differentiated entitlements, taking into account the unmet needs of the underprivileged. 8
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  10. 10. Meeting on September 24, 2010 • The Sonia Gandhi-led NAC may finalise the Food Security Bill in New Delhi on September 24. P. C. Dep. Chair Montek Singh Ahluwalia and officials from Ministries concerned, Women and Child Development Secretary, will be present to try and help bridge the differences between the NAC and the Commission / Ministries. • On August 30, while pushing for universalisation of food security — the position also of the Campaign for Food Security — Ms. Gandhi pointed out that the poor might wonder why the rich were being given the same entitlements. The view that there be a system of two prices and differential entitlements was conceded. 10
  11. 11. Ms. Gandhi had also underlined the importance of taking the government's opinion — that of the Ministries concerned — on board. Since then, key members of the NAC's Working Group on Food Security, including Harsh Mander, Jean Dreze and N.C. Saxena, have had detailed discussions on the issue with Mr. Ahluwalia and Commission Member Narendra Jadhav, who doubles as an NAC member. Sources say a system of differential entitlements is being worked out so that those living below the poverty line (BPL) — at the enhanced Tendulkar Committee report's figure of about 42 per cent — can be given 35 kg of food grains, with rice at Rs.3 a kg and wheat at Rs.2 a kg. Sources indicated there was already agreement on this. 11
  12. 12. At the NAC meeting on September 24, a decision may be taken on how much the rest of the population will get — 25 kg of food grains as promised in the Congress manifesto and in the President's address last year, or enhanced entitlement of 35 kg, and at what price. The government is pushing for status quo, while the NAC would like it to be increased to 35 kg; however, the price, sources said, at which the food grains will be made available to the non-BPL population is likely to be pegged at 75 per cent of the Minimum Support Price (MSP). However, while this part of the Bill looks headed for a consensus, the more significant part relating to securing the nutritional requirements of those at the bottom of the economic ladder, and which has huge financial implications, will also have to be sorted out. 12
  13. 13. At the August 30 meeting, Mr. Mander, who heads the Working Group on Food Security, had listed a range of eight entitlements apart from an inclusive and enhanced Public Distribution System. These included schemes for children such as Integrated Child Development Services and maternal nutrition, community kitchens for those suffering from tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS, homeless children and destitute people and old age pensions. It is in this context that officials from the Ministries that deal with these subjects are expected to attend the September 24 meeting. (To be continued in October) 13
  14. 14. Government of India (National Advisory Council), 24 Sept. 2010, Press Release 1. The Fifth meeting of the National Advisory Council was chaired by Smt. Sonia Gandhi on 24th September, 2010 at 2 Motilal Nehru Place, New Delhi. 2. Members who attended the meeting were Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, MP, Dr. Ram Dayal Munda, MP, Prof. Narendra Jadhav, Prof. Pramod Tandon, Dr. Jean Dreze, Ms. Aruna Roy, Ms Anu Aga, Shri N.C. Saxena, Dr. A.K. Shiva Kumar, Shri Deep Joshi, Ms. Farah Naqvi, Shri Harsh Mander and Ms. Mirai Chatterjee. 3. A presentation was made by Shri Harsh Mander, convenor of the Working Group on the framework of proposed Right to Food Security Bill detailing the Working Group’s proposal. 14
  15. 15. 4. Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Shri Montek S Ahluwalia, Secretary (Food & Public Distribution), Smt. Alka Sirohi, Secretary (Women & Child Development), Dr D.K. Sikri, and Secretary (Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation), Ms Kiran Dhingra made presentations, placing the viewpoint of the Planning Commission and respective Ministries/Departments. 5. The Working Group took note of the issues which emerged from the discussion. A further round of discussions is to take place before the proposal of the Working Group could be finalised. 6. The next meeting of the NAC is scheduled to be held on 23 October, 2010. 15
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  17. 17. NATIONAL FOOD SECURITY CIVIL SOCEITY DEBATES • Components of Food Security • What is ‘food insecurity’ & how it may be eliminated for poor people and children, • Early childcare, ICDS, Pre-primary education, • Targeted / Universal Public Distribution System, • Agri -minister’s Views, • M S Swaminathan, Amartya K Sen, • Right to food campaign, other arguments, facts
  18. 18. Components of Food Security: Make production, processing (storage) & distribution of food grains equitable, sustainable • The focus on accelerated food grains production on a sustainable basis and • Universal Public Distribution System, plus • free trade in grains would • help create massive employment and • reduce the incidence of poverty in rural areas. • This will lead to faster economic growth and give purchasing power to the people.
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  20. 20. Food_Availability, Access and Absorption • Food availability is assured when enough of it is produced or imported and at an affordable price it is available locally. • Food access is assured when we can buy, prepare and consume food to avail a nutritious diet. • Food absorption is assured when we have normal physical and mental health and are able to maintain it with our diet. 20
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  22. 22. FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY-2 • Food supplementation to address special needs of – the vulnerable groups, – Integrated Child Development services [ICDS] and – mid-day meals at secondary schools • Nutrition education, especially through – Food and Nutrition Board [FNB] and – ICDS. 22
  23. 23. • Eliminate Poverty, and • Child mal-nutrition Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and its objectives That every individual has • the physical, economic, social, and environmental access to a balanced diet that includes • the necessary macro-and micro-nutrients, • safe drinking water, • sanitation, environmental hygiene, primary healthcare and • education so as to lead a healthy and productive life. India’s Golden Dream to be realized .
  24. 24. Brain development from Infancy to childhood • Infants: children below one year • Toddlers: age group 1-2 years • Preschoolers: age group 3 to 5 years • School going: In the age group 6 to 14 • Scientists say 90% of brain develops by age 5 • Economists say prevention is better than cure and • Child specialists say early years are foundational to development 24
  25. 25. Population below Poverty Line is significant • Although India has become self sufficient in food grains production, the ever increasing population of the country is a major cause of concern in sustaining food security and nutritional security. The population approaches 1200 million, while about 260 million are below the poverty line and prevalence of widespread under-nourishment and mal-nourishment are a cause of concern. 25
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  27. 27. child under-nutrition in India • Stunting (deficiency in height for age) • Wasting (deficiency in weight for height) • Underweight (that is deficient in weight for age - a composite measure of stunting and wasting). • Most of the times, child deaths and suffering because of poor nutrition go unnoticed. • That India reports among the highest levels of child under-nutrition has been rightly termed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a "national shame". 27
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  29. 29. early childcare is very important • People below poverty line neglect the young. India continues to lose 6 % of our newborns before their first birthday; 50 % of our toddlers to malnutrition and a whole generation to poor health, low skills and poverty. • Can we afford to ignore the role that crèches play in the survival, development and wellbeing of young children? 29
  30. 30. Eliminate under nutrition 30
  31. 31. Integrated Child Development Services(ICDS) • It is a major national programme that addresses the needs of children under the age of six years. • It seeks to provide young children with an integrated package of services such as supplementary nutrition, healthcare and pre-school education. • As the needs of a child can not be addressed in isolation from those of its mother, the programme also extends to adolescent girls, pregnant women and nursing mothers. 31
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  34. 34. Integrated Child Development Services(ICDS) • Over the last two decades the ICDS coverage has progressively increased. As of March 2002, 5652 projects have been sanctioned; there are more than 5 lakh anganwadis in the country. • The number of persons covered under ICDS rose from 5.7 million children of 0 – 6 age, and 1.2 million mothers in 1985 to 31.5 million children and 6 million mothers up to March 2002. 34
  35. 35. What is a crèche? • A crèche is not just an enabling mechanism so that mothers can work, but central to the battle against malnutrition, low birth weight and infant mortality. • It essentially facilitates an aware adult to take on the small tasks involved in childcare for children under three years of age such as patient feeding of small katories of soft food three or four times a day. Continued… 35
  36. 36. What is a crèche? • It essentially facilitates an aware adult to take on the small tasks involved in childcare for children under three years of age such as • A quick response to fever or diarrhea, • To prevent illness from becoming life threatening, • Some one to greet and comfort the child when she wakes up.
  37. 37. A crèche essentially facilitates • We need crèches so that grand-parents do not ask girls to stay back leaving them free to play run and go to school. • We need crèches so that women are treated as citizens with rights and receive the support they need during this time of motherhood and early childcare, thus enabling them to participate in work and life. 37
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  40. 40. Child & Mother nutrition: a major challenge • Nutrition indicators like under weight in preschool children, stunting, wasting of these children, prevalence of low birth weight, anemia in pregnant women, adolescent girls and children under three years, poor breast feeding and complementary feeding rates pose a major challenge. • Chronic mal-nutrition among school children as reflected by stunting and wasting is 45.5 %, and 15.5 % respectively as per national Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2, 1998-99. 40
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  42. 42. Women’s education and child malnutrition • Data show that malnutrition among Indian children born to illiterate mothers (52%), is almost three times higher than levels reported among mothers who have completed 12 years of education(18%). 42
  44. 44. Pre-primary Education Pre-primary Education is offered to children in both urban and rural areas. In urban areas, where sufficient children are available within a reasonable radius, separate Nursery Schools or departments are provided. (continued) 44
  45. 45. Pre-primary Education • Otherwise nursery classes are attached to Junior Basic or Primary Schools. • In addition to that Pre-Primary education is provided free of cost. • Thus, the main object of Pre-primary Education is to give young children social experience rather than formal instruction. • It has an essential part to play in every school System, though Pre-primary education in India is not a fundamental right and thus a very low percentage of children receive preschool educational facilities. 45
  46. 46. • In India these services are called Integrated Child Development Services and Anganwadis. • Indian pre- primary schools have different provisions. • These kindergartens are divided into two stages lower kindergarten (LKG) and upper kindergarten (UKG). • LKG class comprises children from 3 to 4 years of age, and the • UKG class comprises children 4 to 5 years of age. • The completion of preprimary schools sends the children to primary schools. 46
  47. 47. Pre-primary education helps develop • the physical and mental development of the children, • promote their emotional and educational development, and • smoothen their socialization (social development) process. 47
  48. 48. In the formal education system, Pre-primary Education is considered to be an integral part of regular schools. Therefore, all pre -primary instruction is attached to Junior Basic or Primary Schools. The pre primary education is termed as `Nursery`. 48
  49. 49. Pre primary education also extends to • Kindergartens, • crèches and • Montessori schools. In these sections of schools, these special educational facilities are made available to the children below the compulsory age of six. 49
  50. 50. The main objective of pre-primary education is • to present an environment to children to develop a healthy mind through constructive activities and • informal learning experiences. • This environment also prepares children for a later day primary education by • enabling them to adjust to the surroundings outside their home. 50
  51. 51. Actually, in pre-primary education importance is not to be given to any kind of formal teaching or learning, and attention is to be given to the psychological development of the children. The activities of pre-school are to be designed as per the interest and the need of the children. So, it is ideal not to have a permanent syllabus for the preschool programme. 51
  52. 52. Generally, the main activities of pre-schools are free-play, organized play, story sessions, music and dance, acting, drawing and painting, creative work, nature study, language development, and inculcating a sense of counting, measurements, and weight. 52
  53. 53. SOCIALIZATION PROCESSES, PRE-PRIMARY EDUCATION, LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT MATERIALS • A child who is already a member of a family learns to become a member of a society through the process of socialization in which language plays a very important role. • Though it is often quoted that, as far as preschool is concerned, "love is the language and play is the method," love should also be expressed in a human language, in addition to other parental or caregivers' loving behavior, including nonverbal behavior. 53
  54. 54. SOCIALIZATION PROCESSES, PRE-PRIMARY EDUCATION, LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT MATERIALS • The shelter of parental love takes a backseat in the pre-school environment, and is, kind of, substituted by an institutional arrangement of a learning environment in which teacher and other children come to play a part. • From a family situation, a child thus begins to get exposed to the rain and shine of the community that surrounds it. 54
  55. 55. Role of mother tongue • This process of socialization becomes very natural if it is done in the mother tongue of the child. • Since language itself is a system of symbols, when the initial socialization is done in a nonmother tongue of the child, language symbolism gets more complicated and the child begins to feel uneasy. 55
  56. 56. LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT • This happens more so, especially when the language used in the pre-school has no opportunities of reinforcement outside its school environment. • First generation learners and children from the families which have very little exposure or competence in English face this barrier. 56
  57. 57. The Indian government lays emphasis to primary education up to the age of fourteen years (referred to as Elementary Education in India.) It has also banned child labour in order to ensure that the children do not enter unsafe working conditions. Both free education and the ban on child labour are difficult to enforce due to economic disparity and social conditions. 80% of all recognized schools at the Elementary Stage are government run/supported, making it the largest provider of education in the Country. 57
  58. 58. • However, due to shortage of resources and lack of political will, this system suffers from • massive gaps including high pupil teacher ratios, • shortage of infrastructure and • poor level of teacher training. • Education has also been made free for children for six to 14 years of age or up to class VIII under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009. 58
  59. 59. Costs of procuring, storing & distributing food grains at low cost and hence TPDS /PDS alternates. TARGETED VS UNIVERSAL PUBLIC DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM (PDS) FOR FOOD 59
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  61. 61. The proportion of rural population that is below the BPL [ Below Poverty Line] 61
  62. 62. BPL Census should consider • In deciding its coverage, allowance should be made to targeting errors which would be large, but also consider the fact that the undernutrition rates in India tend to be much higher than that of poverty estimates: the gap is not surprising considering that the official ‘povertyline’ is really a destitution line. 62
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  64. 64. Government is helpless • Two arguments mark the opposition to an universal system (whether in the PDS or other sectors like health ) 1. There is no money for the huge subsidy. 2. We may not have enough grain for an universal system when successive draught years happen, and high input costs of agriculture may bring down production. ”Non- government-orgs” too should play a substantial role. 64
  65. 65. Food Minister of India,29-08-2010 • Union Minister for Food said free food grains distribution is not feasible. The Govt. already spends Rs. 66,000 crores on food grains subsidy. We buy wheat from farmers at Rs. 15 a kg. but sell it to the Antyodaya population at • How can we sell any cheaper than that? • Free distribution of grains would ruin the producers. • The supreme Court had not directed the food grains be distributed free of cost. • The wastage of food grains was reduced by present government to 0.02 % of total production. Rs. 2 a kg. 65
  66. 66. States do not lift, food grains, alleging high price • “We do not follow the policy • Mr. Pawar also criticised the of artificially keeping the States for buying only the prices low any more.62 % of food grains at the lowest India’s population is price slab earmarked for the dependent on agriculture. Do Antyodaya population and we want them to remain leaving the rest untouched. poor? Prices have been fixed “I call up the Ministers and considering the input costs their secretaries, asking so that farming becomes them to take away the food viable. This has led to an grains. But they are not increase in the income of interested.” farmers,” he said. 66
  67. 67. Food Minister of India,29-08-2010 • On the wastage of food grains, he said the Govt. had taken project to build warehouses. It was also hiring private warehouses. • In past 8 years, wastage had been reduced substantially, and this year it was just 0.02 % of the total produce. 67
  68. 68. Decentralise procurement, storage & distribution 68
  69. 69. M. S. Swaminathan-1 His stated vision is to rid the world of hunger and poverty; Dr. Swaminathan is an advocate of moving India to sustainable development, especially using environmentally sustainable agriculture, sustainable food security and the preservation of biodiversity, which he calls an "evergreen revolution" • That food originates from efficient and environmentally benign production technologies • that conserve and enhance the natural resource base of crops, animal husbandry, forestry, inland and marine fisheries 69
  70. 70. M. S. Swaminathan-2 • Sustainable food security will have to be defined as ‘physical, economic, social and ecological access to balanced diets’. • A life cycle approach will have to be followed in the case of nutrition, ranging from in utero to old age. • Achieving such a form of food security will require synergy between technology and public policy. 70
  71. 71. M. S. Swaminathan-3 • Adequate food availability is necessary both for stabilizing prices and ensuring the operation of an effective PDS. There is therefore no time to relax on the food production front. • There is particularly an urgent need for greater investment in irrigation, power supply, rural roads, cold storages, storage facilities and food processing units. By extending the benefits of technological transformation and institutional reform to more areas and farming systems, India can become a leader in world agriculture. 71
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  73. 73. Swaminathan's abiding interest is, however, in using science for strengthening the small-farmer economy and in community approach to food and nutrition security. The success stories are drawn from Sri Lanka and Thailand, and the MSS Foundation's own initiatives. Strategy for India is a life-cycle approach and community "food- banks", including locally grown millets, at the village level. 73
  74. 74. The breadth of history, the depth of science in Einsteinian social perspective, the nuanced reflections on the contribution and conditions of humble peasantry, and an informed concern over the ecological imbalance and climate change - all. these distinguishing features of the volume make it a rewarding reading MSS. 74
  75. 75. AMARTYA KUMAR SEN 75
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  78. 78. For more information: 78
  79. 79. Amartya Spake 79
  80. 80. The Kolkata Group, an independent initiative inspired and chaired by Amartya Sen, has demanded that the Right to Food Act be made nondiscriminatory and universal to cover legal food entitlements for all Indians. The Eighth Kolkata Group Workshop (February 2010), has argued for creating durable legal entitlements that guarantee the right to food for all in the country. Sen stressed the need for the firm recognition of the right to food, and comprehensive legislation to guarantee everyone the right. 80
  81. 81. “A Right to Food Act covering enforceable food entitlements should be non-discriminatory and universal. Entitlements guaranteed by the Act should include food grains from the Public Distribution System (PDS), school meals, nutrition services for children below the age of six years, social security provision, and allied programmes” 81
  82. 82. Other arguments and facts THE RIGHT TO FOOD CAMPAIGN 82
  83. 83. The Right to Food Campaign, civil society and economists like Jean Dreze, point out several facts. The poverty estimates of about 40 per cent given by the Tendulkar Committee to determine the number of poor who will receive subsidized food under the forthcoming National Food Security Act is inadequate to our current situation of hunger, starvation and malnutrition. Others that have submitted their reports are the National Committee for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) set up by the Government of India, that estimates that 77 % of our population have an income of less than Rs.20 per day in 2004-05; the Saxena Committee set up by the Ministry of Rural Development that says that 50 % of our population should be considered below the poverty line. 83
  84. 84.  The paucity of resources can no longer be an excuse for keeping our people hungry. It is more a case of having the right priorities, and a moral deficit. The NCEUS report appointed by the government points out that the safety net can be provided within the available resources and capacity of the government. If a universal subsidy can work in Tamil Nadu state and PDS can work in Kerela state why can't it be made to work elsewhere? 84
  85. 85. A Right to Food Act is needed on compassionate grounds.    India wants to reach the moon but the question is whether it can reach its own starving children. Who cares if the Commonwealth of the “Games” is so uncommonly unequal. According to Harsh Mander, a Food Commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court, about ten homeless die every day in Delhi. Says Mander “That so many people die each day at our doorstep, close to the centers of power, is a reminder how scarce is compassion in our public life.” 85
  86. 86. At present, the government supplies 27.4 million tonne of rice and wheat for PDS, which costs it Rs 56,000 crore (in 2010-11). It estimates to have 50 million tonne of grain in its storage facilities at the worst point of the year. Back of the envelope calculations show the first year of NFSA, when one-fourth of the blocks or districts get almost universal coverage and special nutrition schemes are launched, would require around 50 million tonne of grain. The subsidy bill will go up by around Rs 20,000 crore. But even so, the increase of fiscal subsidy might require only a political decision; supply of grain, on the other hand, is a governance issue that the NAC will have to fight and push hard. 86
  87. 87.     The government has announced a 'second green revolution' through the non-irrigated lands, but the agricultural ministry's past record does not inspire confidence. To assure itself that the NFSA does not come undone in future years, the NAC will need to set the course for this second 'revolution' and push the government to procure more. The latter is beset with macroeconomic concerns of how increased government purchase will hit prices and inflation. 87
  88. 88.  Enhancing production alongside will become mandatory.  This would be the toughest bit to ensure because these issues will lie beyond the mandate of the NFSA. They would have to be embedded in an overall economic policy shift that will require increased budgetary allocations to agriculture, combined with the same intellectual vigour that India witnessed during the first green revolution. 88
  89. 89. For India, with nearly fifty per cent children underweight, to make freedom from hunger a legal right is a golden dream that needs hard work to realize it.      It involves besides an universal PDS, many interventions & entitlements like Child nutrition, Social security, Health care and even Proper rights. Framing National Food Security Act requires creative work, public debate and political commitment. 89
  90. 90. Average daily net per capita availability of food grains in India • Average daily net per capita availability of food grains in India between 2005 and 2008 was 436 grams/Indian. • That was less than it was half a century ago. • In 1955-58 it was 440 grams. • Take pulses separately and the fall is 50 %. Around 35 grams in 2005-08 from nearly 70 grams in 1955-58. 90
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  93. 93. • The Food Corporation of India (FCI) procures food grains from the farmers at the government announced minimum support price (MSP). The MSP should ideally be at a level where the procurement by FCI and the offtake from it are balanced. • The responsibility for procuring and stocking of food grains lies with the FCI and for distribution with the public distribution system (PDS). • To reduce the fiscal deficit, the government has sought to curtail the food subsidy bill by raising the issue price of food grains (to APL people) and linking it to the economic cost at which the FCI supplies food grains to the PDS. The economic cost comprises the cost of procurement, that is, MSP, storage, transportation and administration and is high. 93
  94. 94. • When the issue price to APL category goes higher than the market rates and to BPL category beyond their purchasing power, resulting in plummeting of offtake from the PDS. • There is a need to shift from the existing expensive, inefficient and corruption ridden institutional arrangements to those that will ensure cheap delivery of requisite quality grains in a transparent manner and are self-targeting. 94
  95. 95. • It would be sobering for economists to look at the expenditures that some of the most prosperous countries in the world are incurring to stave hunger and protect children and adult populations from hunger. • Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu are four states with four different political parties in power, have led the way in covering larger numbers of poor and admittedly, better provisioning of food grain. 95
  96. 96. Framing National Food Security Act • The proposal by the Planning Commission, that the Tendulkar committee figures for those living below the poverty line be the cut off for providing food grains at Rs 3 per kg, could now get greater weightage. • The favoured proposal may recommend that only 33% of the urban population be provided subsidized grains and provide differential services to different income segments. • The proposal may allow for the rural population living above the Tendulkar poverty line -- or Above Poverty Line beneficiaries -- to get only 25 kg of food grain, at a higher rate. • These steps, if accepted, would radically reduce the number of beneficiaries of the proposed Act as well as pare down the government's annual subsidy bill by Rs 15,000-20,000 crore. 96