Food security is a complex problem. Farmers have to grow enough food, the food has to be distributed all over the country, and people have to be able to afford to buy it.
This page does not have research resources yet, but statistics on nutrition levels in India are easy to find. You will find some resources on initiatives.
Public Distribution System (PDS). The Indian government buys food from farmers and sells it at subsidized (lower) rates to people at government-run ration shops. Some of the food is set aside for people who qualify as Below the Poverty Line (BPL), and some is sold to the public. The PDS system is huge. It provides farmers with a guaranteed market for some of their crops, and it provides cheap food to millions of people. Many things have been written about its successes and its failures. Each state administers the program differently; in some states it works very well, and in some states there is a great deal of corruption and wastage. Here are a few links to get you started:
- “Dark Clouds over the PDS“–this 2016 article in The Hindu is a great place to start; it tells about recent successes and points out some areas of concern.
- “Functioning of the Public Distribution System An Analytical Report“–This is an in-depth report on the PDS by an NGO called PRS Legislative Research. It is worth exploring if you decide to ‘dig in’ to this subject.
The Deccan Development Society: This is a grass roots organization that works on Women’s Empowerment and includes an ‘alternative PDS’. Their efforts have let to reforms in the way the PDS runs in some states.
- “Cultivating Sovereignty – Amazing stories of DDS Communities“-A great introductory video.
- “From Pastapur to Senegal, widening the network of millets“-How the DDS is working with farmers in Africa to increase crop diversity in both countries.
Seed diversity: the number and type of seeds throughout the world is drastically decreasing. This is now happening in India as well, and the consequences to the farmers and larger population are alarming.
- The Farmer, Architect, and Scientist-a great video on an effort to increase seed diversity.
Mid-Day Meals for students: This is a program aimed at increasing nutrition and school attendance.
- Over 100 million government school students get free meals at school as part of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The program encourages school attendance and improves students’ access to nutrition. Here’s a story that looks at some of the successes and failures of the program: ‘Everything you wanted to know about mid-day meals’. It includes links to a variety of resources.
- The Government of India’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme website has statistics and reports.
- Here’s an article critical of the mid-day meal program: ‘Exaggeration of figures in Mid Day Meal scheme: CAG.’
- Here’s an article that argues we should use criticism of the mid-day meal program to improve it: ‘Let’s Use the CAG’s Criticisms to Strengthen, not Weaken, School Midday Meals’.