Original Article

Year: 2020 | Month: December | Volume 65 | Issue 4

Assessment of the Food Security Status of Households Belonging to different Regions of Himalayan Belt

Sheela Kharkwal Ravindra Malhotra


India has not only achieved self-sufficiency in food production but also enhanced its ability to deal with inter year fluctuations in production. Despite the much commended economic growth of the country, the average calorie consumption in India has declined over the years and has been low in comparison to international standards. Hilly states in particular, confront multiple food insecurity risks owing to many reasons like dominance of traditional agriculture, low yields of food and cash crops, and lack of market incentives, etc. Three northern hilly states namely; Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand constitute the Himalayan belt of India. Out of the three hilly states Uttarakhand was purposively selected for the study due to higher below poverty line (BPL) percentage (RBI, 2012) and the higher rank (6th rank) in the development disability index (NIPFP report, 2013) than the other two states. The present study assessed the existing food security status of the state over the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) rounds and measured inequality in calorie intake across various income groups. The study utilized unit record data on household consumption expenditure surveys extracted from CDs for two rounds viz., 61st round (2004-05) & 68th round (2011-12) conducted by NSSO. The state was first categorized into two regions viz., hill and plain region. Households in either region were further classified into different quartiles on the basis of their monthly per consumer unit expenditure and across these quartiles the information was obtained. To assess the incidence, depth and severity of food insecurity Foster, Greer and Thorbecke-FGT (1984) class of poverty measures was used Inequality in calorie intake among different expenditure class was calculated through Gini coefficient. Results revealed that despite a noticeable decline in the share of food expenditure till 68th round it was still more than 50% among people of lower income group (LIG) in plains and LIG and lower middle income group (LMIG) in hills. At an overall level hilly region fared well in terms of calorie intake than plain region of the state in each round. The head count index of food insecurity showed that the incidence of food insecurity in plains came down to 52% in 68th round from 61% of 61st round and 39% from 46% in hills during the same period. A considerable difference in dietary pattern when viewed in terms milk and milk products consumption, edible oils, fruits, vegetables and sugars was observed across income groups. The head count index of food insecurity in 61st round showed that 61% households in Plains and 46% households in hills were food insecure, this incidence of food insecurity came down to 52% in plains and 39% in hill region till 68th round. Inequality in plain region was lower in each round, when compared to that in hilly region. A targeted monitoring to ensure food availability through PDS to lower income population can be done and range of food products can be increased for this particular target group.

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