|Topic: GS3 – Agriculture- Issues of buffer stocks and Food Security
This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of India’s cereal production and consumption, along with the associated policy dilemmas and implications.
- The amount of cereal consumed per person has been falling over time; this trend is not due to an increase in poverty but rather to urbanisation, higher levels of education, a more varied diet, and possibly less physical activity.
- It is difficult to determine current trends due to the 75th NSS Round’s suppression, but state-level data for Maharashtra indicates a persistent fall between 2011–12 and 2017–18.
- Traditionally, the Economic Survey has subtracted 12.5% for seed, feed, and waste (SFW) in order to determine “net production.”
- But in recent years, there has been an increasing disparity between net availability and household demand, which reached 36 million tonnes in 2020–21 and 33 million tonnes in 2021–22.
- Inadequate SFW allowance and doubts over higher grain consumption for human consumption, animal feed, or industrial applications are possible causes of this disparity.
- The large disparity raises concerns regarding the real direction of cereal consumption.
- Does the public distribution system play a role in the rise in consumption?
- Are there any unanticipated uses, such increased animal feed or industrial applications?
- Understanding this cereal gap is made more difficult by the dearth of thorough data and the seeming ambiguity of statistical reporting.
- The cereal gap presents important policy issues in addition to a statistical puzzle.
- With grain production growing at a rate of about 3% annually, officials should think about diversifying away from wheat and rice.
- A comprehensive grasp of the demand scenario is needed in order to guarantee Indian farmers fair pricing.
- In order to prepare for India’s agricultural production in the future and possibly investigate opportunities such as cereal exports, it becomes necessary to address these questions.
- India’s agriculture policies require a holistic strategy, as highlighted by the current statistics disarray.
|PYQ: What are the salient features of the National Food Security Act, 2013? How has the Food Security Bill helped in eliminating hunger and malnutrition in India? (250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2021)
|Practice Question: Discuss the potential impact of the cereal gap on food security and suggest policy reforms to enhance the efficiency and inclusivity of the current agricultural ecosystem. (150 words/10 m)