Who are food-insecure?

  • The worst affected groups are landless people with little or no land to depend upon, traditional artisans, providers of traditional services, petty self-employed workers, and destitute including beggars.

  •  In the urban areas , food insecure families are those whose working members are generally employed in ill-paid occupations and the casual labor market.

  • These workers are largely engaged in seasonal activities and are paid very low wages that just ensure bare survival.

  • The social composition along with the inability to buy food also plays a role in food insecurity.

  • The SCs, STs and some sections of the OBCs (lower castes among them) who have either poor land bases or very low land productivity are prone to food insecurity.

  • The people affected by natural disasters, who have to migrate to other areas in search of work, are also among the most food-insecure people.

  •  A large proportion of pregnant and nursing mothers and children under the age of 5 years constitute an important segment of the food-insecure population.

  • The states of Uttar Pradesh (eastern and south-eastern parts), Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, parts of Madhya Pradesh, and Maharasthra account for the largest number of food-insecure people in the country.

  • Hunger is another aspect indicating food insecurity . Hunger is not just an expression of poverty, it brings about poverty.

  • The attainment of food securit y, therefore, involves eliminating current hunger and reducing the risks of future hunger.

  • Hunger has chronic and seasonal dimensions.

  • Chronic hunger is a consequence of diets persistently inadequate in terms of quantity and/or quality. Poor people suffer from chronic hunger because of their very low income and in turn inability to buy food even for survival.

  • Seasonal hunger is related to cycles of food growing and harvesting. This is prevalent in rural areas because of the seasonal nature of agricultural activities and in urban areas because of casual laborers.

  • The percentage of seasonal, as well as, chronic hunger has declined in India as shown in the above table.

  • India is aiming at Self-sufficiency in Foodgrains since Independence.

  • India adopted a new strategy in agriculture, which resulted in the ‘Green Revolution, especially in the production of wheat and rice.

  • Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, officially recorded the impressive strides of the Green Revolution in agriculture by releasing a special stamp entitled ‘Wheat Revolution’ in July 1968.

  • The highest rate of growth was achieved in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which were 44.01 and 30.21 million tonnes in 2015–16.

  • Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh recorded a significant production in fields of wheat which were 26.87 and 17.69 million tonnes in 2015–16, respectively.

  • West Bengal and UP , on the other hand, recorded significant production of rice 15.75 and 12.51 Million tonnes in 2015–16 respectively.

Story of Ramu

Ramu works as a casual laborer in agriculture in Raipur village. His eldest son Somu who is 10 years old also works as pali to look after the cattle of the Sarpanch of the village Satpal Singh. Somu is employed for the whole year by the Sarpanch and is paid a sum of Rs 1,000 for this work . Ramu has three more sons and two daughters but they are too young to work in the field. His wife Sunhari is also (part-time) working as a house cleaner for the livestock, removing and managing cow dung. She gets ½ litre of milk and some cooked food along with vegetables for her daily work. Besides she also works in the field along with her husband in the busy season and supplements his earnings. Agriculture is a seasonal activity that employs Ramu only during times of sowing, transplanting, and harvesting . He remains unemployed for about 4 months during the period of plant consolidation and maturing in a year. He looks for work in other activities. Sometimes he gets employment in bricklaying or in construction activities in the village. Through all his efforts, Ramu is able to earn enough either in cash or kind for him to buy essentials for two square meals for his family. However, during the days when he is unable to get some work, he and his family really face difficulties and sometimes his small kids have to sleep without food. Milk and vegetables are not a regular part of meals in the family. Ramu is food insecure for 4 months and he remains unemployed because of the seasonal nature of agricultural work

Story of Ahmad

Ahmad is a rickshaw puller in Bangalore. He has shifted from Jhumri Taliah along with his 3 brothers, 2 sisters, and old parents . He stays in a jhuggi. The survival of all members of his family depends on his daily earnings from pulling a rickshaw. However, he does not have secured employment and his earnings fluctuate every day. On some days he gets enough earnings for him to save some amount after buying all his day-to-day necessities. On other days, he barely earns enough to buy his daily necessities. However, fortunately, Ahmad has a yellow card, which is PDS Card for below the poverty line people. With this card, Ahmad gets a sufficient quantity of wheat, rice, sugar, and kerosene oil for his daily use. He gets these essentials at half of the market price. He purchases h is monthly stock on a particular day when the ration shop is open for below-poverty people . In this way, Ahmad is able to eke out his survival with less than sufficient earnings for his big family where he is the only earning member.

Note : According to the National Health and Family Survey (NHFS) 1998-99, the number of such women and children is approximately 11 crore.

Ask a doubt
Davneet Singh's photo - Co-founder, Teachoo

Made by

Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 14 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.