Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam: Paper - IV (General Studies – III) - 15 April 2019


Answer Writing Practice for UPSC IAS Mains Exam


UPSC Syllabus:

  • Paper-IV: General Studies -III (Technology, Economic Development, Bio-diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management)

Q. “The crux of India’s food problem today pertains not so much on increasing food availability or production but with the distribution of food.” In this context, discuss the challenges of food security in India. Also, suggest measure to deal with these challenges.

Model Answer:

  • Introduction
  • Key findings
  • Challenges of Food Security in India
  • Food security in India: Required measures
  • Conclusion

Introduction:

Global Report on Food Crises 2019 report was released jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP) and EU.

Key findings:

  • More than 113 million people across 53 countries experienced “acute hunger” last year because of wars and climate disasters, with Africa the worst-hit region.
  • Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Syria were among the eight nations accounting for two-thirds of the total number of people worldwide exposed to the risk of famine.
  • African Nations were “disproportionally” affected as close to 72 million people on the continent suffered acute hunger.
  • The key factors which drove the hunger were Conflict and insecurity along with economic turbulence and climate-related shocks like drought and floods.
  • In countries on the verge of famine, up to 80 per cent of the populations were dependent on agriculture. They need both emergency humanitarian aid for food and measures to help boost agriculture.
  • The strain put on countries hosting a large number of refugees, including war-torn Syria as well as Bangladesh, which has received more than a million Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar has been highlighted in the report.
  • The overall situation slightly improved in 2018 compared to 2017 when 124 million people suffered acute hunger. This reduction in numbers was partially owed to the fact that some countries in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region, for instance, were less affected by weather disasters that had struck in previous years.
  • The year-on-year trend of more than 100 million people facing famine was unlikely to change in the face of continued crises.
  • High levels of acute and chronic malnutrition in children living in emergency conditions remained of grave concern.

Challenges of Food Security in India:

  • The crux of India’s food problem today pertains not so much on increasing food availability or production but with the distribution of food.
  • Meeting the demand for food to feed this growing population from scarce land resources is one of the major challenges of the new century—a fact that was highlighted in World Food Day.
  • Estimates show that each one degree rise in temperature will cause grain yields to decline by 5%, posing a serious threat to food security.
  • Rising levels of atmospheric carbon can influence the growth and productivity of agricultural crops.
  • The soil-plant/crop-atmosphere continuum poses serious challenges under changing climate scenarios with reference to scale, scope and magnitude.
  • According to the IPCC, reduction in the quality of soil, compounded by climate change, will lead to a worldwide decline in agricultural production, thereby threatening food security
  • In the next 25 years, land degradation and desertification may lead to a decline in global food production by up to 12 per cent, which might trigger a rise in food price by 30 per cent.

Food security in India: Required measures

  • Guarantee coverage of farmlands with crop insurance.
  • Ensure procurement of produce at the right time with minimum support price (MSP) for rice and wheat.
  • Include minor millets and promote the same through the public distribution system.
  • Restructure the entire Food Corporation of Indiaby efficient management and enlarged storage capacity so that precious food grains are not left to rot in the open and sold as cattle feed at half the price.
  • Encourage urban agriculture using biodegradable municipal solid wasteto grow rice and vegetables near urban centres to reduce transportation cost.
  • Example: Produce from East Kolkata Wastelands covering 1,200 hectares provides 25-35 per cent of fish and vegetables at affordable prices.
  • Promote salt-tolerant rice varieties in coastal regions.
  • Promote sustainable agricultureunder the National Action Plan on Climate Change through organic farming using farmers’ seeds.

Conclusion:

The Global Food Crises Report is an annual study launched three years ago which takes stock of the countries facing the greatest difficulties in tackling hunger. Ending conflicts, empowering women, nourishing and educating children, improving rural infrastructure and reinforcing social safety-nets are essential for a hunger-free world.

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