India has made a long journey. Once a country with chronic food shortages, India has become a food grain exporter replete with overflowing godowns. Indian food policy, whose foundations were laid during times of scarcity, today faces the daunting task of managing surpluses. Yet the country is also still home to one of the largest concentrations of poor, hungry and undernourished people in the world. The challenges to India’s food security today are vastly different in nature from what they were just a few decades ago. The sustained high rate of economic growth in the last two decades provides an opportunity for the country to take on this challenge on a scale that was not possible in the past. How effectively the country uses this opportunity to face up to the new challenges depends upon its policies and institutions whose task it is to provide food security to the country and its citizens. Against this background, the overall objectives of the project is to prepare a report that would
(1) provide an overview of the policies and institutions that address the issue of food security in India focusing primarily on availability and accessibility to food
(2) discusses the rationale of the policies and programmes for food security and assess the achievements and challenges
(3) Review the international experience in moving from physical transfers to conditional cash transfers, use of food coupons and vouchers, etc, and assess their relevance in the Indian context
(4) identify the role of partnerships and synergies between the public sector, private players, civil societies or farmers’ groups and international agencies for improving food security in the country.
(5) Propose certain key policy alternatives and suggests changes in the existing policies that can help address the emerging challenges to food security more effectively.
The study will be based on documentation and analysis of secondary information available, existing literature on issues related to food security. Primary information will be sought through interaction with concerned stakeholders to the extent absolutely necessary.
Timeline: June 2011-October 2011
Geographical Coverage: India