NCERT Solutions for Economics, Chapter 4 – Food Security in India
Intext Questions Page 43
Question 1 Some people say that the Bengal famine happened because there was a shortage of rice. Study the table and find out whether you agree with the statement.
Answer No, I do not agree that the Bengal famine happened due to a shortage of rice. From the table, the availability was much higher than in 1941, although lower than 1942. However, there can be a number of other causes like improper distribution, poor carryover stocks due to less production in 1941, malnutrition or disease etc.
Question 2. Which year shows a drastic decline in food availability?
Answer The year showing a drastic decline in food availability is 1941.
Question 1. What do you see in Picture 4.1?
Answer In Picture 4.1 we see the starvation victims of the famine arriving at a relief centre. Even their bones can be seen below their skin because of malnutrition.
Question 2. Which age group is seen in the first picture?
Answer The age group seen in the first picture is mostly the elderly, i.e., those who are past the age when they can work for a living. Probably, they were neglected by their family members due to the famine.
Question 3. Can you say that the family shown in the Picture 4.2 is a poor family? why?
Answer Yes, it is a poor family for the following reasons
(i) They look very weak and thin due to malnutrition.
(ii)They are wearing the minimum clothes and also no footwear. Probably, they could not afford better clothes or any footwear due to poverty.
(iii) They are leaving their village to go to the town where some earning potential may be there. This also shows that they are not earning enough in the village.
Question 4. Can you imagine the source of livelihood of the people (shown in the two pictures) before the occurrence of famine? (In the context of a village)
Answer As these people look like landless labourers, their source of livelihood must have been agriculture. The famine affected agriculture the maximum.
Question 5 Find out what type of help is given to the victims of a natural calamity at a relief camp.
Answer The kind of help given to victims of a natural calamity at a relief camp are of the following kinds
(i) Shelter A place to stay like a dormitory or tented arrangement for shelter from Sun and rain as well as a place to sleep in at night.
(ii) Food cooked in a common kitchen – at least two meals in a day.
(iii) Medical help in case of injury or disease.
(iv) Clothes and monetary compensation are also given sometimes depending on the calamity.
Question 6. Gather more information about famines in India.
Answer Details of some famines which occurred in India since 1769 are given below. All these famines occurred prior to independence.
Major Famines in India
|Name of Famine
|Great Bengal famine
|Bihar, Northern and Central Bengal
|Doji bara famine or skull famine
|Agra famine of 1837-38
|Central Doab and trans-Jamna districts Provinces (later Agra Province including Delhi and Hissar)
|Upper Doab famine of 1860-61
|Upper Doab of Agra, Delhi and Hissar divisions of the Punjab
|Orissa famine of 1866
|Orissa (also 1867) and Bihar, Ballary and Gujam district of Madras
|Rajputana famine of 1869
|Ajmer, Western Agra, Eastern Punjab
|Bihar famine of 1873- 74
|Great famine of 1876-78 (also Southern India famine of 1876-78)
|Madras and Bombay
|Ganjam, Orissa and North Bihar
|Indian famine of 1896-1997
|Madras, Bombay Deccan, Bengal United Provinces, Central Provinces
|Indian famine of 1899-1900
|Bombay, Central Provinces, Berar Ajmer
|Bengal famine 0f 1943
|Indian Kingdoms /Princeley States
|10 million (about one third of the then population of Bengal).
|Delhi, Western Oudh, Eastern Punjab region Rajputana and Kasmir
|Severe famine. Large areas were depopulated up to 11 million people may have died during the
|Hyderabad Southern Maratha country Deccan Gujarat and Marwar
|One of the most severe famines known. People died in such numbers that they could not be
cremated or buried. It is thought that 11 million people may have died during the years 1788-94.
1 Million (814,469 in Orissa 135,676 in Bihar and 10,898 in Ganjam).
1.5 million (mostly in the princely states of Rajputana).
An extensive relief effort was organised by the Bengal Government. There were little to none significant mortalities during the famine.
|Mysore and Hyderabad
5.5 million in British territory. Mortality unknown for princely
states. Total famine mortality estimates vary from 6.1 to 10.3 million.
1,50,000 deaths in Ganjam. Deaths were due to starvation as
famine relief was not provided in time.
|Northern and Eastern Rajputana parts of Central India and Hyderabad
5 million in British territory.
|Hyderabad Rajputana Central India Baroda Kathiwar Cutch
1 million (in British territories) Mortality unknown for princely
2,35,062 in Bombay (of which 28,369 attributed to Cholera)
Mortality unknown for
1.5 million from starvation
3.5 million including deaths from epidemics.
Question 1. Why is agriculture a seasonal activity?
Answer Agriculture has a sowing season and a harvesting season which is a very busy period for farmers, Most of the work is done during these periods. When the plants are growing and maturing no significant amount of work is there.
Question 2. Why is Ramu unemployed for about 4 months in year?
Answer Agriculture has a sowing and harvesting season which is a very busy period for farmers and requires extra labour. So casual labourers like Ramu get employment during these period for about eight months in a year.
Question 3. What does Ramu do when he is unemployed?
Answer Ramu is a casual agricultural labourer and is only seasonally employed during sowing and harvesting. During that period, he gets employment in brick laying, or in construction activities in the village.
Question 4. Who are supplementing income in Ramu’s family?
Answer Ramu’s wife Sunhari and his son Somu are supplementing the income in Ramu’s family. Somu works for the Sarpanch by looking after the cattle and is paid Rs 1,000 for his work. Sunhari also works as house cleaner and a casual labourer during the busy season.
Question 5. Why does Ramu face difficulty when he is unable to have work?
Answer Ramu is seasonally unemployed and does odd jobs to survive. But some times he is unable to get any work at all and during that period he faces difficulty in getting 2 square meals for his family.
Question 6. When is Ramu food insecure?
Answer Ramu who is a casual labourer in agriculture becomes seasonally unemployed and does odd jobs during that period. But sometimes, he is unable to get any work at all and is totally unemployed and faces poverty and is unable to buy food for his children. During this period he is food insecure during the four months when he is unemployed.
Question 7. Story of Ahmad Ahmad is a rickshaw puller in Bangalore. He has shifted from Jhumri Taliah along with his 3 brothers, 2 sisters and old parents. He stays in a jhuggi. The survival of all members of his family depends on his daily earnings from pulling rickshaw.
However, he does not have a secured employment and his earnings fluctuate every day. During sorme days he gets enough earning for him to save some arnount after buying all his day-to-day necessities. On other days, he barely earns enough to buy his daily necessities. However, fortunately, Ahmad has a yellow card, which is PDS Card for below poverty line people. With this card, Ahmad gets sufficient quantity of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil for his daily use. He gets these essentials at half of the market price. He purchases his monthly stock during a particular day when the ration shop is opened for below poverty people. In this way, Ahmad is able to eke out his survival with less than sufficient earnings for his big family where he is the only earning member.
(a) Does Ahmad have a regular income from rickshaw pulling?
Answer (i) Ahmad a rickshaw puller does not have a regular income from rickshaw pulling; his earnings fluctuate every day.
(ii) Sometimes, he gets enough earning to save some amount after buying his day to day necessities. On other days he is barely able to earn enough to survive.
(b) How does the yellow card help Ahmad to run his family even with small earnings from rickshaw pulling?
Answer (i) Ahmad has a yellow card which is a PDS card for below poverty line people. With this card Ahmad gets sufficient quantity of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil for his daily use at rates below the market rates.
(ii) In this way, Ahmad is able to survive even with less income from Rickshaw pulling.
Question 1 Study the graph 4.1 and answer the following questions.
(a) In which year did our country cross the 200 million tonnes per year mark in food grain production?
Answer In the years 2001-02 and 2003-04 our country crossed the 200 million tonnes per year mark in food grain production.
(b) In which decade did India experience the highest decadal increase in food grain production?
Answer India experienced the highest decadal increase in food grain production between 1980-1990.
(iii) Is production increase consistent in India since 2000-01?
Answer No the increase in food grain production did not remain consistent after 2000-01 because it declined in 2002-03.
Question 1 Visit your area’s ration shop and get the following details
(a) What are the items sold at the ration shop?
Answer The items usually sold at ration shops are wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene.
(b) Compare the prices of rice and sugar from the ration shop with the prices at any other grocery shop? (for families below poverty line)
Answer The prices of rice and sugar are generally less than half the rates at any other grocery shop for families below the poverty line, due to the subsidy given by the government.
(c) Find out
(i) Why are ration shops necessary?
Answer Ration shops are necessary for supplying essential items at reasonable rates for everybody and especially for the families who are below the poverty line. Indirectly, they also keep the prices of essential items in the open market in check.
Question 1. Study the Graph 4.2 and answer the following questions
(a) In which recent year food grain stock with the government was maximum?
Answer The food grain stock with the Government of India we maximum in July 2002.
(a) What is the minimum buffer stock norm of the FCI?
Answer 24.3 million tonnes is the minimum buffer stock norm for the FCI.
(b) Why were the FCI granaries overflowing with food grains?
Answer The FCI granaries were overflowing with food grains because of increased food grain procurement by FCI, compared to the actual requirement. The major food producing states such as Punjab, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh have put pressure on the government to buy the grain under the minimum support price scheme.
Question 1. How is food security ensured in India?
Answer Food security is ensured in India by
(i) Creation of buffer stock.
(ii) Introduction of the Public Distribution System (PDS).
(iii) Running other special programmes like
(a) Food for work programme
(b) Mid-day meal in schools
(c) Integrated child development services
Question 2. Which are the people more prone to food insecurity?
Answer A large section of people suffer from food and nutrition insecurity in India. The worst affected are
(i) The landless people with little or no land to depend on.
(ii) Traditional artisans.
(iii) Providers of traditional services, petty self employed workers and destitutes, including beggars.
(iv) Urban casual labourers engaged in seasonal activities.
(v) The SCs, STs and some sections of OBCS.
(vi) People affected by natural disasters.
Question 3. Which states are more food insecure in India?
Answer The states of Uttar Pradesh (Eastern and South Eastern parts) Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh parts of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra account for the majority of food insecure areas of the country.
Question 4. Do you believe that Green Revolution has made India self-sufficient in food grains? How?
Answer (i) Yes, the Green Revolution has made India self-sufficient in food grains.
(ii) India adopted a new strategy in agriculture in which HYV, insecticides and pesticides were used which resulted in Green Revolution or great production of wheat and rice.
(iii) The highest rate of growth was achieved in Punjab and Haryana where food grain production jumped from 7.23 million tonnes in 1964-65 to an all time high of 30.33 million tonnes in 1995.
(iv) The success of wheat was later replicated in rice production.
Question 5. A section of the people in India are still without food.Explain.
Answer (i) Despite achieving self sufficiency in food grains as a result of the Green Revolution, a section of people in India are still without food because of poverty. Thus, landless the labourers, casual urban workers, SCs and STs who are below the poverty line find it impossible to get two square meals a day.
(ii) The PDS is not functioning properly because the ration shop owners are diverting the grains to the open market.
(iii) Low quality grains are available at ration shops which often remain unsold.
(iv) Corruption in the PDS and extreme poverty are the two basic reasons that even today some people are still without food in India.
Question 6. What happens to the supply of food when there is a disaster or a calamity?
Answer (1) When the country faces a national disaster/calamity like earthquake, drought, flood or tsunami, there is widespread failure of crops. Standing crops are destroyed, leading to shortage of food grains which results in price rise and hardship to all.
(il) If the crop is not destroyed, sometimes the transport system is affected and transportation of food grains from the food surplus areas becomes impossible. This leads to shortage of food grains in other areas.
Question 7. Differentiate between seasonal hunger and chronic hunger.
Answer Hunger has seasonal and chronic dimensions.
Seasonal Hunger Seasonal hunger is related to cycles of food growing and harvesting.
(i) This is prevalent in rural areas because of the seasonal nature of agricultural activities and in urban areas because of casual labour.
(ii) This type of hunger exists when a person is unable to get work for the entire year, e.g, many casual construction labourers during rainy season become unemployed.
(i) Chronic hunger is a consequence of diets persistently inadequate in terms of quantity and quality.
(ii) Poor people suffer from chronic hunger because of their very low income and in turn inability to buy food even for survival.
Question 8. What has government done to provide food security to the poor? Discuss any two schemes launched by the government.
Answer To provide food security to the poor, the government has implemented the following
(i) Creating a buffer stock of food grains for distribution when and where needed.
(ii) Public Distribution System for making available food grains to the poor at highly subsidised rates. Besides these, a number of schemes have been launched. During the 1970s, the following schemes were started
(i) Integrated Child Development Services
(ii) Food for Work Programme
In the year 2000, the following schemes were launched
(i) Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) : This scheme is for the poorest of the poor. Under this scheme, 35 kg of food grains per month are made available to a family at ? 2 per kg for wheat and 3 per kg for rice.
(ii) Annapurna Scheme (APS) : This is meant for indigent senior citizens who are not having any family to support them. Under this scheme 10 kg of food grains per month are made available to them free of cost.
Question 9. Why buffer stock is created by the government?
Answer Buffer stock is the stock of food grains, namely wheat and rice, procured by the government through Food Corporation of India (FCI). The ECI purchases wheat and rice from the farmers in states where there is surplus production.
(i) The farmers are paid a pre-announced price for their crops. This is called the Minimum Support Price.
(ii) The purchased food grains are stored in the granaries and called buffer stock. This is done to distribute food grains in the deficit areas and among the poorer strata of society at a price lower than the market price, also known as issue price.
(iii) This also helps to resolve the shortage of food during adverse weather conditions or during a period of calamity.
Question 10. Write notes on
(a) Minimum Support Price
(b) Buffer Stock
(c) Issue Price
(d) Fair Price Shops
(a) Minimum Support Price
(i) The Food Corporation of India (FCI) purchases wheat and rice from the farmers in states where there is surplus production.
(ii) The farmers are paid pre-announced price for their crops. This price is called Minimum Support Price (MSP).
(iii) The MSP is declared by the government every year before the sowing season to provide incentives to the farmers for raising production of these crops.
(b) Buffer Stock
(i) Buffer stock is the stock of food grains namely wheat and rice procured by the government through Food Corporation of India (FCI).
(ii) The FCI purchases wheat and rice from the farmers in states where there is surplus production and stores this grain in the granaries as butter stock.
(iii) This is done to distribute food grains in the deficit areas and among the poor strata of society when there is shortage of food grains because of crop failure due to natural calamities.
(c) Issue Price
(i) The FCI purchases food grains from the farmers in states with surplus food production and stores it in granaries.
(ii) This is done to distribute food grains in the deficit areas and among the poor state of society at a price lower than the market price which is also known as issue price.
(d) Fair Price Shops
(i) The food procured by the FCI is distributed through government regulated ration shops among the poorer sections of the society.This is called Public Distribution System (PDS).
(ii) Ration shops are now present in most localities villages, towns and cities.
(iii) Ration shops are also known fair price shops.
(iv) These fair price shops keep stocks of food grains, sugar and kerosene oil. Here these items are sold at a price lower than the market price.
Question 11. What are the problems of the functioning of ration shops?
(i) The PDS dealers are sometimes found resorting to main practices like
diverting the grains to open market for more profit.
(ii) Dealers sell poor quality grains at ration shops.
(iii) Ration shops are opened at irregular time creating problems for the people.
(iv) It is common to find that ration shops regularly have unsold stocks of poor quality grains.
Question 12. Write a note on the role of co-operatives in providing food and related items.
(i) The co-operatives are also playing an important role in food security in India, especially in the Southern and Western parts of the country.
(ii) The cooperative societies set up shops to sell low priced goods to poor people.
(iii) In Delhi, Mother Dairy is making progress in provision of milk and vegetables to the consumers at controlled rates decided by the Government of Delhi.
(iv) Amul is another success story of co-operatives in milk and milk products from Gujarat. It has brought about the white revolution in the country.
(v) These are a few example of many co-operatives running in different parts of the country ensuring food security of different sections of society.