Economics

What is food security? Explain various measures taken by the government.


SOLUTION

The term 'food security' means that everybody is able to get enough healthy food to be well and active. For everybody to get enough healthy food, we need a food system that works well. Various measures taken by the government are as follow:

Technology Measures

Introducing technology in agriculture was an initiation taken by the Government to meet the growing demand of agricultural production. The measures taken to improve food production were expanding irrigation facility, water management, advance usage of high yielding variety of seeds and protection of crops through the usage of fertilisers and pesticides. These facilities were provided on a large scale to farmers. Through this, land unfit for cultivation was also made fit. This has made our country independent, and we have turned from a larger importer of food grains to a larger exporter.

Nationalisation

Banks have always paid attention to the increasing demand of agriculture. To centralise the needs of agricultural reforms, a National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) was set up in 1982, which worked on expanding the credit facility to farmers. NABARD looks after the development of the cottage industry, small industry, village industry and other rural industries. It also finances the needs of the rural sector and monitors the development of the rural economy.   

Support Prices

Another important measure is the announcement of support prices to ensure fair returns to farmers. This policy was passed so that even if the production was high, farmers should not suffer because of price cut. If the supply increases, the demand decreases; it means the price tumbles if the supply is adequate. This policy was necessary to ensure that farmers are not penalised for producing more. In fact, this policy was introduced to provide incentive to farmers for high production. 

Food Security System

The Government of India had built a food security system in the form of the Public Distribution System (PDS). PDS does not mean that food will be available at cheaper cost. It means that it will work as a ‘safety net’ to maintain larger stocks of food grains. This was done in a bid to combat any shortages or shortfalls which might occur in the coming years because of natural disaster or during emergency.

Rural Employment Programmes

PDS was not very effective for the poor who did not have adequate amount of money to buy facilities available. Thus, the government planned various programmes particularly for poor farmers such as Small Farmers Development Agency (SFDA), Marginal Farmers and Agricultural Labour Development Agency (MFALDA), National Rural Employment Programme (NREP), Rural Landless Employment Guarantee Programme (RLEGP), Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY) and Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS).

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