India has 2nd Highest Number of Undernourished People : Economic Survey 2015-16

By | February 26, 2016

In order to provide Food Security, in the current Agriculture Scenario, India has to Focus on Supplies which are timely and Uninterrupted and Affordable for the Poor

57 % of Households had Calorie intake below 2160 KCal/Consumer unit/day

Average Protein intake Per Capita per day Rises Steadily

India Has the Second Highest Number of Undernourished People which Warrants Immediate Attention

                        The Economic Survey 2015-16 presented here today in the Parliament by the Union Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley emphasizes that the main aim of food management policy is to provide food security to the population.  Providing food security entails making food available at affordable prices at all times, without interruptions. In order to provide food security, in the current agriculture scenario, India has to focus on supplies which are timely and uninterrupted and affordable for the poor.  Though India’s GDP growth has been impressive and the agricultural production has also increased over the past few decades, hunger and starvation still persist among the poorer section of the population. There has been moderation of inflation including food inflation during the last two years, but more needs to be achieved by freeing up markets, augmenting supply of food and leveraging the use of IT.

According to the data of the 66th round of the National Sample Survey (2009-10), the average dietary energy intake per person per day was 2147 Kcal for rural India and 2123 Kcal for urban India.  As per the Report of Nutritional Intake in India, 2011-12 (NSSO, 68th round), among the bottom 5 per cent of rural population ranked by Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE), 57 per cent of households had calorie intake below 2160 Kcal/consumer unit/day. The average protein intake per capita per day rises steadily with MPCE level  in  rural India from 43 gm for the bottom  5 per cent of population ranked by MPCE to 91 gm for the top 5 per cent, and in urban India from 44 gm for the bottom 5 per cent to about 87 gm for the top 5 per cent.

Economic Survey 2015-16 states that India has the second highest number of undernourished people at 194.6 million person (FAO, State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2015) which warrants immediate attention. Moreover, with 27 per cent of the population below the poverty line, the rise in prices of food impacts the poor adversely, with a greater proportion of their household incomes being spent on food. Therefore, along with provision of food subsidy, stability in agricultural commodity prices is essential for making poorer sections food secure.

There is a strong correlation between stability in agricultural production and food security. Volatility in agricultural production impacts food supplies and can result in spikes in food prices, which adversely affect the lowest income of the population.

With a large number of people who remain undernourished and the issues of volatility in agricultural prices, Economic Survey 2015-16 states that India has one of the largest scheme of food schemes in the World to ensure food security. There is entitlement feeding programs like the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) (All Children under six, pregnant and lactating mothers) and MDMS (Mid  Day Meal Schemes), food subsidy programmes like the Targeted  Public Distribution  System, Annapurna ( 10 Kgs of free food grain for destitute poor) and the   Employment  Programmes like  Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment  Guarantee Scheme (100 days of employment at minimum wages) to ensure food security.

Source Ministry of Finance 26-February, 2016

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