Dynamics of Food Security in India: Declining Per Capita Availability Despite Increasing Production

  • Pooja Pal
  • Himangana Gupta
  • Raj Kumar Gupta
  • Tilak Raj


Food availability and access is a necessary condition for food security. This chapter aims to analyze the state of declining foodgrain availability in India despite record agricultural production and rising food subsidy. In terms of methodology, the data have been procured from the Economic Survey of India and the Annual Reports of the Food Corporation of India. Maximum, minimum, average, standard deviation, and correlation coefficients have been calculated for the pairs of net availability vs. carrying cost, net availability vs. total food subsidy, and food subsidy vs. Public Distribution System (PDS) offtake for analysis. The findings show that the availability of foodgrain ranges from 186.19 to 146.51 kg per person per year and the average 167.14 kg per person per year with a standard deviation of 10.10. Availability declined consistently from its peak of 186.19 kg per person in 1991 to the bottom of 146.51 in 2013. This difference becomes starker when one considers that an average family of five had 198 kg of foodgrain less to eat in 2013 than in 1991. The study found that the correlation coefficient of per capita net availability with subsidy was low at 0.19 but the correlation of subsidy with agricultural production was high at 0.91. The originality and value of this study are derived from its focus on the present government policies and resolutions for food management and the reasons as to why the present policies have not been able to address the problem of food availability in the country.


Foodgrain availability Food insecurity Food subsidy Public Distribution System India 



The authors are thankful to the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi for providing funding support for this research in the form of Senior Research Fellowship.


  1. Ahluwalia, D. (1993). Public distribution of food in India: Coverage, targeting and leakages. Food Policy, 18, 33–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. von Braun, J. (2008). The impact of rising food prices and climate change on the ultra poor. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
  3. Coady, D. P. (2004). Designing and evaluation social safety nets: Theory, evidence and policy conclusion. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
  4. Dev, S. M., & Sharma, A. N. (2010). Food security in India: Performance, challenges and policies. New Delhi: Oxfam India.Google Scholar
  5. Devereux, S. (2006). The new famines. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Dorosh, P. A. (2008). Food price stabilisation and food security: International experience. Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, 44, 93–114. Scholar
  7. Drèze, J., & Sen, A. (1989). Hunger and public action. Oxford: Oxford University Press ISBN: 978-0-19-828365-2.Google Scholar
  8. FAO. (2009). Declaration of the World summit on food security. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization.Google Scholar
  9. FAO. (2008). Climate change and food security: A framework document. 107.Google Scholar
  10. FAO, IFAD, WFP. (2013). The state of food insecurity in the world, 2013: The multiple dimensions of food security. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
  11. FAO, IFAD, WFP. (2015). The state of food insecurity in the world. Meeting the 2015 international hunger targets: Taking stock of uneven progress. FAO, Rome.Google Scholar
  12. GoI. (2005). Performance evaluation of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). New Delhi: Programme Evaluation Organisation, Planning Commission, Government of India.Google Scholar
  13. GoI. (2011). The National Food Security Bill, 2011.Google Scholar
  14. GoI. (2013). The National Food Security Act, 2013.Google Scholar
  15. Gulati, A., Gujral, J., & Nandakumar, T. (2012). National food security bill: Challenges and options. New Delhi: Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices.Google Scholar
  16. Gulati, A., Sharma, P., & Kähkönen, S. (1996). The Food Corporation of India: Successes and failures in Indian foodgrain marketing. Center for Institutional Reform and the Informal Sector.Google Scholar
  17. IFPRI. (2012). Global hunger index 2012. Bonn: International Food Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
  18. IIPS and Macro International. (2007). National family health survey, 2005–06 (Vol. II). Mumbai: International Institute for population Sciences.Google Scholar
  19. Iqbal, F., & You, J.-I. (2001). Democracy, market economics, and development: An Asian perspective. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  20. Kattumuri, R. (2011). Food security and the Targeted Public Distribution System in India. Asia Research Centre.Google Scholar
  21. Kumar, M. D., Sivamohan, M. V. K., & Narayanamoorthy, A. (2012). The food security challenge of the food-land-water nexus in India. Food Security, 4, 539–556. Scholar
  22. Ministry of Finance. (2013). Economic survey 2012–2013. New Delhi: Ministry of Finance, Government of India.Google Scholar
  23. Ministry of Finance. (2016). Economic Survey 2015–2016. New Delhi: Ministry of Finance, Government of India.Google Scholar
  24. New York Times. (2003). Does democracy avert famine? In: N. Y. Times. Accessed 16 May 2013.
  25. Parry, M., Rosenzweig, C., & Livermore, M. (2005). Climate change, global food supply and risk of hunger. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B Biological Science, 360, 2125–2138. Scholar
  26. Ramachandran, N. (2011). Climate change, seasonality and hunger: The South Asian experience. In M. Behnassi, S. Draggan, & S. Yaya (Eds.), Global Food Insecurity: Rethinking Agricultural and Rural Development. Paradigm policy (pp. 201–215). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ramaswami, B., & Balakrishnan, P. (2002). Food prices and the efficiency of public intervention: The case of the public distribution system in India. Food Policy, 27, 419–436. Scholar
  28. Rao, C. H. H. (1994). Agricultural growth, rural poverty and environmental degradation in India. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Secretariat of CBD. (2013). Biodiversity for food security and nutrition. UNEP-CBD-FAO.Google Scholar
  30. Sen, A. (1981). Ingredients of famine analysis: Availability and entitlements. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 96, 433–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Sharma, P., & Gulati, A. (2012). Approaches to food security in Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, Mexico and Nigeria: Lessons for developing countries.Google Scholar
  32. Sharma, V. P. (2012). Food subsidy in India: Trends, causes and policy reform options. Ahmedabad: Indian Institute of Management.Google Scholar
  33. Stamoulis, K. G., & Zezza, A. (2003). A conceptual framework for national agricultural, rural development, and food security strategies and policies. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Agricultural and Development Economics Division.Google Scholar
  34. Sunderland, T. C. H. (2011). Food security: Why is biodiversity important? International Forestry Review, 13(3), 265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sutopo, W., Bahagia, S. N., Cakravastia, A., & Samadhi, T. A. (2010). A buffer stocks model for stabilizing price of staple food with considering the expectation of non speculative wholesaler. In Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering 2010 Vol III WCE 2010 June 30–July 2 2010 London, UK.Google Scholar
  36. Swaminathan, M. (1996). Structural adjustment, food security and system of public distribution of food. Economic and Political Weekly, 21, 1665–1672.Google Scholar
  37. Tyagi, D. S. (1990). Managing India’s food economy – Problems and alternatives. New Delhi: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  38. United Nations. (1949). United nations universal declaration of human rights 1948. United Nations.Google Scholar
  39. United Nations. (1975). Report of the world food conference, Rome, 5–16 November 1974. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  40. United Nations. (2011). The millennium development goals report 2011. New York.Google Scholar
  41. United Nations. (2014). United Nations millennium development goals. Accessed 17 Aug 2014.
  42. USAID. (1992). Food security. Accessed 14 May 2013.
  43. Virmani, A., & Rajeev, P. V. (2002). Excess food stocks, PDS and procurement policy. New Delhi: Planning Commission.Google Scholar
  44. WFP. (2013). WFP Strategic plan (2014–2017). Rome: World Food Programme.Google Scholar
  45. World Food Summit. (1996). WHO|Food Security. In: WHO. Accessed 14 May 2013.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pooja Pal
    • 1
  • Himangana Gupta
    • 2
  • Raj Kumar Gupta
    • 3
  • Tilak Raj
    • 1
  1. 1.University Business SchoolPanjab UniversityChandigarhIndia
  2. 2.National Communication Cell, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of IndiaNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Journalist and Independent Analyst in Environment, Food and Social PolicyNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations