When the lockdown was imposed in all the countries of the world after the Kovid-19 epidemic, the biggest concern was to provide food security to the people. Even the United Nations has issued a letter to all the member states that governments should not let the people of their country go hungry. In such a situation, the second biggest country in terms of population was the biggest crisis on India, but with the new scheme of food security, the Government of India made arrangements for food for 81 crore people in a country with 130 crore population. World Food Day, which is celebrated every year on 16 October, is very important to know about this achievement of the Government of India. Because India’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is the world’s largest food distribution scheme. Before talking about this plan, let us take a look at history.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a United Nations unit that works globally to fight hunger. Everyone should get good quality food, this is the purpose of this organization. This organization is active in 130 countries. The organization believes that everyone in the world can contribute to end hunger. FAO believes that there is enough food production in the world and everyone can get enough food. The worrying thing is that despite two decades of tireless efforts, 870 million people are still seriously hungry. Talking about children, there are 171 million children under the age of five who are malnourished. At the same time, the weight of 104 million children is less than the average. Of these, 55 million children are severely malnourished.
History of Ministry of Food in India:
India faced a severe food shortage during the Second World War and a Food Department was established on December 01, 1942 under the Commerce Member of the Governor’s General’s Council to meet its requirements. The Home Department formed a new food department and Benjamin George Holdsworth, CIE, ICS became the first secretary food.
Benjamin took the charge, saying, “I have been directed to say that the Food Department of the Government of India has started functioning and has controlled the price and circulation of foods including sugar and salt (but not tea or coffee).” All issues related to food have been taken up. Notification is being issued regarding transfer of administration of export trade related to food items to this department. Purchase of food items for the army, which will be one of the functions of this department , Hereafter the supply will go by the department till the date it is announced. ”
A separate portfolio of Food Member was created in August 1943, as the work of the Department increased. In the year 1946, when the Interim Government of India was formed. Then Dr. Rajendra Prasad became the first Minister of Food and Agriculture Department of the country.
Also read- World Food Day 2019: Today is World Food Day, food is rich and there is poverty, no reason is needed to be prevented.
Food ministry’s responsibility increased after independence:
The Food Department was reorganized after India became independent. On 29 August 1947, the Ministry of Food took shape. According to the available records, the Directorate of Sugar and Vegetables was a part of the Ministry of Food in the year 1947. Keeping in mind the greater administrative efficiency and economy, the Ministry of Agriculture was merged with the Ministry of Food on 01 February 1951, forming the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Due to the significant increase in the volume of work over time, two separate ministries namely the Ministry of Food and the Ministry of Agriculture were formed in October 1956, but were merged again on 17 April 1957 and renamed as Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Gone. On December 30, 1958, work relating to the Central and State Warehousing Corporations was transferred to the Department of Food under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. And in the same way, the caravan of the ministry moved forward and new responsibilities increased.
Largest food distribution scheme in Corona period:
During the Kovid-19 epidemic, the Government of India announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana in March 2020. Under this scheme, about 81 crore people covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) were taken care of. 81 crore, two and a half times the population of the US, double the population of the European Union and 12 times the population of the UK. All these beneficiaries are being provided 5 kg of rice / wheat free. A total of 33.40 lakh metric tonnes of food grains have been raised by the states and union territories so far.
Under this scheme, the Food Corporation of India established new records in the purchase of food grains. During the recently concluded crop season, 389.76 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and 504.91 lakh metric tonnes of rice were purchased. By May 2020, 74 crore people benefitted from this scheme. After successful implementation of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) from April to June 2020, the Government of India extended the scheme for another 5 months from July to November 2020.
The total allocation for PMGKAY-II from July to November 2020 will be distributed to 200.19 lakh metric tonnes of food grains (91.33 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and 109.96 lakh metric tonnes of rice). There has been a very encouraging response from the beneficiaries of this scheme as well as the state governments. The total quantity of food grains distributed by the Government of India to the weaker sections of the society during 5 months, including 200.19 lakh metric tons of additional foodgrains allocated for PMGKAY-II, will be about 455 lakh metric tons.
Under the NFSA and AAY, every beneficiary is being given 5 kg of wheat or rice at subsidized prices in addition to the quota of their regular food grains, absolutely free. The special thing is that the Food Corporation of India has done extensive and detailed logistic planning for this work and implemented it with ease and transported food stocks to every part of the country as per the allocation in the last 5 months. In the implementation of this scheme, a budget of 1.7 lakh crore rupees was kept in the beginning, in which later the budget of 90 thousand crores was further increased.
India to celebrate 75th anniversary of MAO with special event:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil a commemorative coin of 75 rupees to commemorate the 75th anniversary of The Food and Agriculture Organization. This commemorative coin is a testimony to the strong relationship with FAO. On this occasion, 17 biological species of crops prepared by scientists of India will be dedicated to the nation. On this occasion, the Union Agriculture Minister, Finance Minister, Women and Child Development Welfare Minister as well as Anganwadi workers, agricultural science centers, biological centers and people working in horticulture will participate.