[Answered] How crucial is the role of states in ensuring food security in India? Discuss with examples.

Introduction: Describe the food security concept in above context.

Body: What role does states play in ensuring food security in India?

Conclusion: Way forward.

The ‘State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated the proportion of the population across countries who are unable to afford a healthy diet. The figure for India in 2021 was estimated at 74% of the population which shows that continuing high food-price inflation could result in people facing hardship in consuming food of adequate nutritional value. The role of states in ensuring food security in India is crucial, as they play a pivotal role in the implementation of various policies, programs, and schemes related to food production, distribution, and access.

Role of states in food security in India:

  • Varied agriculture practices: Agroclimatic conditions and farming activities vary between states. They must create and put into effect agricultural policies that are customized to their particular requirements and environmental conditions. States like Kerala and West Bengal place more emphasis on crops like rice, whilst states like Punjab and Haryana concentrate on the production of wheat and rice.
  • Distribution & Procurement of grains: State governments are primarily responsible for buying food grains like rice and wheat from farmers and distributing them through the Public Distribution System (PDS). They are in charge of making sure that food grains get to the people who live in poverty. Innovative PDS models have been introduced in states like Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh to enhance food distribution.
  • Nutrition programs: States are responsible for implementing nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programs. These include programs aimed at improving the nutritional status of women and children, such as the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the National Health Mission (NHM). States like Odisha have initiated programs like the Mamata scheme to improve maternal and child nutrition.
  • Disaster Management: In the event of a natural disaster, such as a drought or a flood, states must be ready to manage issues related to food security. By giving afflicted communities food and shelter, they play a crucial part in disaster relief. Eg, states like Maharashtra have created drought relief programs to provide food and job possibilities to affected farmers during droughts.
  • Targeted welfare programs: States have the flexibility to design and implement targeted welfare programs to address specific food security challenges. For example, the Tamil Nadu government has implemented the Amma Unavagam scheme, which provides subsidized meals to urban residents, ensuring access to affordable food.

Conclusion:

Effective collaboration between the central government and state governments is essential to address India’s complex food security issues and ensure that nutritious food reaches all citizens, especially the vulnerable and marginalized populations.

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