Food problem: management and measures.

You guys may think “whats he talking about?!” because we all live in luxury and whats that word “food problem” mean?


If you have this kind of feeling then please read on.

India is truly developing now and its income, infrastructure, per capita income has also developed.

But what the major problem faced by India is “the problem food management and it’s distribution”.

As we all know , India is an agricultural country . Today, India ranks second worldwide in farm output. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 16.6% of the GDP in 2007, employed 60% of the total workforce and despite a steady decline of its share in the GDP, is still the largest economic sector and plays a significant role in the overall socio-economic development of India.

India is the largest producer in the world of milk, cashew nuts, coconuts, tea, ginger, turmeric and black pepper.It also has the world’s largest cattle population (281 million). It is the second largest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, groundnut and inland fish. It is the third largest producer of tobacco.India accounts for 10% of the world fruit production with first rank in the production of banana and sapota.

But still India is not in the condition to meet the basic food requirements of people. There are many people in India who strive hard even for the square meals. I don’t say that people in village areas are facing this problem, but also people in major cities face the same problems!!

Lack of food supply and the nutritional deficiency causes not only a bad mark for the country’s image in the international level, but also causes adverse effect on country’s developing economic policies and it’s structure. Mismanagement of food products and it’s supply also puts country under many dreadful diseases too!

Why do you think Indian still faces these kinds of problems and problems related to food security and distribution?

Answer is, the poor food management skills, awareness and infrastructure.

Slow agricultural growth is a concern for policymakers as some two-thirds of India’s people depend on rural employment for a living. Current agricultural practices are neither economically nor environmentally sustainable and India’s yields for many agricultural commodities are low. Poorly maintained irrigation systems and almost universal lack of good extension services are among the factors responsible. Farmers’ access to markets is hampered by poor roads, rudimentary market infrastructure, and excessive regulation.

World Bank: “India Country Overview 2008″

According to World Bank’s “India: Priorities for Agriculture and Rural Development”, India’s large agricultural subsidies are hampering productivity-enhancing investment. Over regulation of agriculture has increased costs, price risks and uncertainty. Government intervenes in labor, land, and credit markets. India has inadequate infrastructure and services. World Bank also says that the allocation of water is inefficient, unsustainable and inequitable. The irrigation infrastructure is deteriorating.

Measures undertaken by Indian Government to overcome the problem:

Even though the poor food management management skills and infrastructure in is the root cause for food problem in India, Government has undertook some programs are remedial measures to overcome it. Government introduced many schemes to over come the problem. It has also tried and still trying to create awareness among people for overcoming the problem food management and also to attain better life.

After all we people must not blame the government because, it is our duty to co operates with the government. You can witness many issues in your day to day life that even though government has helped us we are not at all trying to get developed. It must be our aim to attain welfare. It is our requirement to get fulfilled.

Still our government has helped and trying to help us by theses plans:

Fair price shops in better regulation and management of food security and distribution

Public Distribution System:

PDS means distribution of essential commodities to a large number of people through a network of FPS on a recurring basis. The commodities are as follows :-
PDS evolved as a major instrument of the Government’s economic policy for ensuring availability of foodgrains to the public at affordable prices as well as for enhancing the food security for the poor. It is an important constituent of the strategy for poverty eradication and is intended to serve as a safety net for the poor whose number is more than 330 million and are nutritionally at risk. PDS with a network of about 4.99 lakh Fair Price Shops (FPS) is perhaps the largest distribution network of its type in the world.
PDS is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State Governments. The Central Government has taken the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of foodgrains, etc. The responsibility for distributing the same to the consumers through the network of Fair Price Shops (FPSs) rests with the State Governments. The operational responsibilities including allocation within the State, identification of families below poverty line, issue of ration cards, supervision and monitoring the functioning of FPSs rest with the State Governments.


Buffer stocks:

In addition to the requirements of wheat and rice under the Targetted PDS, the Central Pool is required to have sufficient stocks of these in order to meet any emergencies like drought/failures of crop, as well as to enable open market intervention in case of price rise. Therefore, the minimum stocks that should be available in the Central Pool at the beginning of the four quarters of a year are as follows:-

(With effect from April 2005) In Lakh Tonnes
1st April 122.0 40.0 162.0
1st July 98.0 171.0 269.0
1st Oct. 52.0 110.0 162.0
1st Jan. 118.0 82.0 200.0

Storage & Research (S&R) Division of the Department: of Food & Public Distribution is carrying out research, development and training activities in the field of Post Harvest Management of Foodgrains. Monitoring of quality of foodgrains being procured by Food Corporation of India, State Governments and their agencies for Central Pool is also being carried out by S&R Division through Quality Control Cells.

These activities are undertaken through:

(i) Indian Grain Storage Management & Research Institute (IGMRI)

(ii) Quality Control Cells

(iii) Central Grain Analysis Laboratory

(i) Indian Grain Storage Management and Research Institute (IGMRI)

In order to develop facilities for Applied Research and Apex Level Training in the field of Post Harvest Management of Food grains, a Grain Storage Research and Training Centre (GSRTC) was established at Hapur in 1958, which was later on expanded into Indian Grain Storage Institute (IGSI) and subsequently renamed as Indian Grain Storage Management and Research Institute (IGMRI). It has two field stations located at Ludhiana and Hyderabad.

IGMRI is carrying out research and development activities related to post harvest management of food grains. Laboratory and field testing of newer insecticides including plant product insecticides for the control of stored grain insect pests, testing the suitability of PP/HDPE bags for longer storage of food grains, development of code of practices for scientific storage of foodgrains, assessment of storage gain in wheat stored in PP/HDPE bags and jute bags are some of the important activities carried out by IGMRI. IGMRI also organizes long duration and short duration training programmes for the Government officers engaged in handling, storage and preservation of foodgrains including pest control operators.


The main objectives of the Institute are:

– To test newer insecticides including plant product insecticides for the control of stored grain insect pests, testing the suitability of PP/HDPE bags for longer storage of foodgrains;

– To test the suitability of PP/HDPE bags for longer storage of foodgrains;

– To develop code of practices for scientific storage of foodgrains at farm and commercial level;

– To investigate the nature, extent and degree of losses due to various factors, such as, insects, rodents and moisture under different agro-climatic conditions;

– To impart training on scientific storage and preservation of foodgrains for offices of various organisations viz. FCI,CWC, SWCs, Civil Supplies Corporations etc. as well as trainees from developing countries sponsored by FAO, UNDP and Commonwealth Secretariat;

– To impart training to Pest Control Operators on use of various pesticides for scientific storage of foodgrains.

(ii) Save Grain Campaign (SGC)

Save Grain Campaign, which has now been closed on the recommendations of the Expenditure Reforms Commission (ERC) from 1st May, 2008 was propagating the knowledge of scientific storage of foodgrains developed by IGMRI amongst farmers including farm women through its 12 field offices which were located in different parts of the country viz. Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Kolkata, Chandigarh Ghaziabad, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow , Patna and Pune.

The main objective of the SGC was to educate, motivate and persuade the farmers and others to adopt measures at farm level to minimise the foodgrain losses through training, demonstration & publicity.

Activities of SGC:

The main activities of SGC were as under:

– To impart training to the farmers, traders and extension officials at the block level on the practical aspects of storage and preservation of foodgrains.

– To popularise scientific techniques of storage amongst farmers etc., through demonstrations and wide publicity and to develop selected villages to serve as model villages.

– To arrange facilities for farmers for purchase of improved types of storage structures; and

– To maintain liaison with State Governments and to arrange steady supply of storage structures and pesticides to the users.

The ultimate aim of the above programme was to minimize post harvest losses in foodgrains at farm level

(iii) Quality Control Cells (QCC)

Three Quality Control Cells were set up at New Delhi, Kolkata & Hyderabad to monitor the quality of foodgrains being procured by FCI and state agencies for Central Pool. During 2008, with the recommendations of ERC, the Quality Control activities in the Department of Food & PD were strengthened. Five offices of erstwhile Save Grain Campaign located at Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow and Pune were converted into Quality Control Cells.

Activities of Quality Control Cells

– To monitor the quality of foodgrains at the time of procurement by inspecting procurement centres of FCI and State agencies. This is being done to ensure that foodgrains conforming to uniform specifications are procurement by these agencies.

– To check the preservation and maintenance of foodgrains by inspecting Food Storage Depots of FCI and State agencies to ensure that Government’s guidelines in this regard are followed by these agencies.

– To check the quality of wheat and paddy stored in open complexes (CAP).

– To inspect Fair Price Shops to ensure that foodgrains conforming to PFA standards are issued to the consumers.

– To investigate the complaints received from State Government, VIPs and individuals about quality of foodgrains being supplied through PDS.

Shortcomings observed by the Inspecting Officers about the quality of foodgrains or proper maintenance and preservation of food stocks are immediately brought to the notice of concerned organisations for taking remedial measures. Parliament Questions, Calling Attention Motions and Special Mentions about the quality of foodgrains are also attended by the Quality Control Cell.

(iv) Central Grain Analysis Laboratory (CGAL)

Central Grain Analysis Laboratory (CGAL) is an apex level laboratory of the Department of Food & Public Distribution situated at Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi. The main function of the laboratory is to assess the physical and chemical quality of foodgrains being procured, stored and distributed by FCI. The specifications pertaining to the physical quality of the foodgrains known as Uniform Specifications are formulated by the CGAL for different Kharif and Rabi foodgrains every year for procurement under Central Pool. These specifications are uniformly applicable throughout the country.

Some of the main Welfare Schemes undertaken by the Indian Government to overcome the problem of food requirement are:

1. Mid-Day Meal Scheme for children:

The Mid-Day Meal Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Department of Education) with effect from 15th August, 1995 for the benefit of students in primary schools under Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS)/earlier Revamped Public Distribution System (RPDS) blocks (2368). The Scheme presently covers students of Class I-VIII in the Government Primary Schools / Upper Primary Schools/ Schools aided by Govt. and the Schools run by local bodies.

The Department of Food & Public Distribution makes allocation of annual requirement of foodgrains under the Scheme to Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development. Further State/UT-wise allocation of foodgrains are made by that Department. Food Corporation of India (FCI) releases foodgrains to States/UTs at BPL rates as per allocation made by Deptt. of School Education & Literacy.

Allocation /offtake of foodgrains under the scheme during the 10th Plan and the first two years of the 11th Plan – 2007-08 & 2008-09 are as under:-

Figures in lakh tons:




2002-03 18.84 9.40 28.24 13.75 7.45 21.20
2003-04 17.72 9.08 26.80 13.49 7.20 20.69
2004-05 20.14 7.35 27.49 15.41 5.92 21.33
2005-06 17.78 4.72 22.50 13.64 3.63 17.24
2006-07 17.22 4.38 21.60 13.05 3.50 16.55
2007-08 19.98 5.30 25.28 3.95 14.41 18.36
2008-09 21.48 4.78 26.26 15.82 4.37 20.1
Scheme For Supply of Foodgrains to SC/ST/OBC Hostels/Welfare Institutions:

With a view to meet the requirement of Hostels /Welfare Institutions viz. . N.G.Os/ Charitable Institutions which help the shelterless/homeless poor and other categories not covered under TPDS or under any other Welfare Schemes, an additional allocation of foodgrains (rice and wheat) not exceeding 5% of the BPL allocation of each State/UT is made to States/UTs at BPL rates. This scheme was initially introduced in 2002-03 to liquidate the stocks of foodgrains. Even though stock position of foodgrains in the Central Pool in recent years were not comfortable, the scheme has been continued.

During 2005-06, the allocation and offtake of foodgrains under the scheme were reviewed on recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Food. The allocation to the States/UTs accordingly was rationalized w.e.f. August, 2005 on the basis of average offtake of previous three years.

Allocation/offtake of foodgrains under the scheme during the 10th Plan period and the first two years of the 11th Plan – 2007-08 and 2008-09 are as under: –

Figures in lakh tons:


2002-03 6.58 4.53 11.11 1.30 0.14 1.44
2003-04 6.25 5.19 11.44 3.15 0.23 3.38
2004-05 6.06 4.80 10.86 1.94 0.75 2.69
2005-06 3.47 2.44 5.91 2.37 0.27 2.64
2006-07 3.26 0.57 3.83 2.76 0.25 3.01
2007-08 2.13 0.57 2.70 1.61 0.33 1.94
2008-09 2.96 1.12 4.08 2.43 0.41 2.84

Note:- The data includes allocations to SC/ST/OBC Hostels.

Village grain banks scheme:

Village Grain Bank Scheme was earlier implemented by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in 11 States. However, since 24.11.2004, the scheme is being implemented by the Department Food & Public Distribution.

The main objective of the scheme presently being implemented is to provide safeguard against starvation during the period of natural calamity or during lean season when the marginalized food insecure households do not have sufficient resources to purchase rations. Such people in need of foodgrains will be able to borrow foodgrains from the Village Grain Bank. The grain banks are to be set up in food scarce areas like the drought prone areas, the hot and cold desert areas, tribal areas and the inaccessible hilly areas which remain cut off because of natural calamities like floods, etc. These villages are to be notified by the concerned State Government/Union Territory. The scheme envisages inclusion of all willing BPL/AAY families in the villages to be identified by the State Government in food deficit areas. The quantity to be lent and the period of repayment is to be decided by the Group themselves. Village Panchyat/Gram Sabha, Self Help Group for NGOs etc. identified by the State Government are eligible for running the Grain Banks.

The estimated cost of setting up one grain bank is as follows:-

a) Cost of foodgrains @ of 1 quintal per family for average 40 families per grain bank. 40 quintals. of foodgrains at Rs.13,762/- per MT (based on the average present economic cost of grains). i.e. Rs.55,046/-
b) Transportation cost @ Rs.90/- per quintal. 90 x 40 = Rs.3,600/- ( to be equally shared by the Central & State Governments).
c) Training expenses for trainers and trainees. Rs.1400/- per bank
d) Storage/ weights and scales etc. Rs.6000/- per bank
e) Monitoring and Administrative Cost Rs.3000/- per bank
Total Rs.69,046 per bank

* Cost of VGB to be borne by Central Government :Rs.67,246 per bank say Rs.67,250 per Bank.

* Cost of Transportation to be borne by State Govt. : Rs.1800 per bank.

Details of VGBs sanctioned and expenditure incurred since 2005-06 have been as follows:

Year VGBs Sanctioned States where sanctioned Amount (Rs. Crore)
2005-06 3282 Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tripura & Meghalaya 19.76
2006-07 8191 Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhatisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal 51.79
2007-08 2598 Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, Orissa, Rajasthan and West Bengal 17.44
2008-09 2407 Manipur, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh 16.81
Total 16478 105.8

– M Vishakh.

(References:The Department of Public Distribution of India, Internet)


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One Response to Food problem: management and measures.

  1. Shivam sinha says:

    I understand many things by this page , it helped in understanding about PDS and so many measures which is taken by the Government . Thank you!

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