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India's Food Security: PMGKAY and Nutritional Challenges



  Nov 14, 2023

Overview of India’s Food Security and Nutritional Challenges: Beyond PMGKAY



Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the free foodgrain scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for an additional five years, aiming to provide food security to 80 crore individuals.

Key Insights:

1. Economic Context: India’s ambition to become a $5-trillion economy by 2025 contrasts with its continued reliance on subsidized/free food schemes.

2. Budget Allocation: The Department of Food and Public Distribution allocated Rs.2,05,514 crore for FY24, with food subsidy being the largest expenditure.

3. Additional Expenditure: Extending PMGKAY for five more years is expected to incur an extra expenditure of around Rs.40,000 crore in the current fiscal year.

4. Nutritional Challenges: Despite government schemes, 74% of the Indian population cannot afford a nutritious diet. NFHS-5 data indicates high rates of stunting (36%), wasting (19%), and underweight (32%) among children under five.

5. Gender and Dietary Patterns: Women’s diets often include pulses, beans, and vegetables, but fruit and meat consumption is less frequent. Men are less likely to be vegetarians compared to women.

6. Socioeconomic Disparities: Nutritional deficiencies are more prevalent among those with less education, rural residents, lower-income households, and certain social groups.

Implications:

The extension of PMGKAY reflects a significant commitment to addressing food security in India, but challenges in ensuring access to nutritious diets and addressing malnutrition, particularly among vulnerable groups, remain critical.

SRIRAM’s


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