Since the Green Revolution, food grain production in India has increased manifold. The food security system in India consists of the creation of buffer stocks of food grains and their distribution through the public distribution system. Every year, after the harvest of food grains like wheat and rice, the government buys food grains from farmers through the Food Corporation of India.
The food grains so procured are stored in warehouses of the FCI. This stock of food grains is called the buffer stock. The buffer stock is used to prevent a shortage of food in adverse conditions like crop failure and natural calamities.
People having a ration card can buy a fixed amount of sugar and food grains every month from a fair price shop. There are three kinds of ration cards in India. The Antyodaya cards for the poorest of the poor, the BPL cards for people living below the poverty line and the APL cards for all other people.
The rationing of food in India began after the Bengal famine in 1943. The need for food rationing was further underlined by the severe shortage of food in India in the 1950s and 1960s, before the Green Revolution. The high poverty ratio reported by the National Sample Survey Organization in 1970 prompted the government to launch three important programmes related to food security.
These programmes included strengthening of the existing public distribution system, and the introduction of the integrated child development services and the food for work programme. The government has also launched several poverty alleviation programs that enhance food security by increasing the poor people’s income and their affordability of food.