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#97: GS3 | Buffer stock & food security issues
Objectives, Handling, Challenges, and Way Forward | Free high value notes
Issues of Buffer Stock and Food Security is an important topic of GS3. Sharing GS3 Mains notes on this topic compiled by @Conquerias24, a Post Graduate in Economics from Madras School of Economics. Do follow him @Conquerias24!
Pool of commodities like rice, wheat etc. maintained to provide food security
It enables government to tackle unforeseen emergencies like droughts, etc.
Objectives of Buffer Stock
Achieve food security in the country
Income security to farmers via MSP based procurement
Achieve price stability by stabilizing the supply of commodities
Continue social welfare programs like PDS, Mid day meal schemes etc.
Prevent food grain shortage during emergencies like droughts, wars, etc.
Handling of Buffer Stock in India
Food buffer stock of central govt pool is handled by:
State government agencies
Food Corporation of India
States taking part in decentralized procurement scheme
FCI is established under Food Corporation Act, 1964 for fulfilling the objectives of India’s food policy
The stocking norms of buffer stock comprises of:
Food Security stocks: To adjust for shortfall in procurement
Operational stocks: To meet monthly requirements of TPDS & other welfare schemes
Challenges in Maintaining Buffer Stock
High cost of logistics & administration as seen in the following:
Wastage of food grains
Diversion & Pilferage
Transportation issues: Spillage & spoilage
Lack of sufficient storage space & infrastructure
Developed countries accuse India of trade distortion
Skewed Cropping pattern: MSP for food grains like rice and wheat lead to overproduction of these food grains
Open-ended Procurement: Leads to issues with storage
Rising cost of operations: Higher acquisition Cost (In terms of rising MSP) & high storage costs due to inadequate capacity
De-facto Nationalization of Market: With 75% procurement of food grains by govt, little is available for open market which pushes up prices & neutralizes much of the benefits that govt provides via subsidies.
Investment in Storage Infrastructure
Allow private sector to procure & store food grains
Reduce number of beneficiaries under NFSA from 60% to 40%
Adopt DBT system for transfer of funds to beneficiaries
Abolishing levy rice - Under this levy rice policy, govt purchases a certain amount of rice from mills compulsorily, called levy rice. The rest, mills can sell in open market.
Reforms in MSP system
Food Security in India
Dimensions of food security: 3A i.e. Availability, Accessibility, Affordability
Availability - Adequate production & supply of food grains
Accessibility - Food to be in reach for everyone without any discrimination
Affordability - Individuals have sufficient money to buy sufficient, safe, nutritious food to meet their dietary requirements
Global Hunger Index 2022: India107th out of 121 countries reflection serious deficiency in food security
Food and Agriculture Report 2018: 195.9mn of 821mn total undernourished people in India (24% of global hunger)
Undernourishment in India: 14.8% (higher than both, global and Asian average)
Framework of Food Security in India
Constitutional Provision: Article 21 - Right to live includes Right to Food
Buffer Stock: Procured at MSP and stored at FCI warehouses in diff cities of India
NFSA, 2013: Paradigm shift in approach to food security from welfare to rights approach (Covers 75% of rural population & 50% of urban population)
Public Distribution System: Key component of govt’s food policy where the procured commodities like rice, wheat etc. are allocated to states for distribution
Challenges related to Food Security
Corruption in management of food grains
Soil Degradation: Negative impact on crop yield
Lack of accessibility to a lot of poor people in the country
Impact of climate change: Unpredictable rainfall, droughts etc.
Invasive weed threats: In the past 15 years, India has faced more than 10 major invasive pest and weed attacks.
Faults in procurement: Farmers have diverted land from producing coarse grains to the production of rice and wheat due to a minimum support price.
Lack of efficient management framework of food security schemes
Bogus ration cards
Lack of social audit mechanism
DBT through JAM for transfer of subsidies efficiently without leakages
Precision agriculture with use of technology like micro-irrigation systems
Sustainable farming systems: Natural Farming, ZBNF, Organic Farming etc.
Promotion of millets: e.g. International Year of Millets (2023), MIIRA Initiative
Ensure transparency in food stock holdings by using better IT technology and communication networks
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