Meaning of Food insecurity
Food insecurity is when people are unable to afford and secure sufficient quantities of nutritious food for their family. Food security in India is essential for the poor. Food security is required in the country because more than a quarter of the Indian population is living below the poverty line.
Who are Food-insecure?
If a group of people are deprived of adequate food to meet their minimum dietary needs, then such a group of people can be considered food-insecure people. Poor people are more vulnerable to food insecurity because of their poor purchasing power. Thus, the food insecure people do not have enough access to quality food.
If the agricultural land is not fertile in a particular region, then the availability of food grains is likely to be inadequate in that region. If the government fails to increase the supply of food grains in that region at a reasonable price, then the accessibility of food grains will be affected.
Further, agriculture in India hugely depends on rainfall. In cases of failure of rainfall, many areas suffer from famines resulting in the untimely deaths of many people because of starvation and epidemic diseases. Kalahandi and Kashipur in Odisha have been suffering from famines since many years. The Indian states which have a large number of food-insecure people are the eastern and southern parts of Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The incidence of food-insecurity in rural areas is higher among landless labourers, petty self-employed workers, small artisans engaged in some traditional crafts and street beggars. Similarly, the incidence of food-insecurity in urban areas is higher among ill-paid casual workers and poor people residing in slum areas.
Hunger is another dimension of food insecurity. It is a condition in which people do not get enough food to
provide the nutrients for an active life. It has chronic and seasonal dimensions. Chronic hunger is a consequence of diets persistently inadequate in quantity or quality. Poor people suffer from this type of hunger because of their very low income. For example, the income of landless labourers is too low to buy sufficient food. This type of hunger exists when a person is incapable of buying food even for survival. On the other hand, seasonal hunger is related to the cycles of growing and harvesting food. It is prevalent in rural areas because of the seasonal nature of agricultural activities and in urban areas because of casual labour. For example, there is less work for casual construction labour during the rainy season. This type of hunger exists when a person is unable to get steady work for the entire year.