Food Security Act, 2013: Opportunities and Challenges for the Backward States in India


  • Biplab Dhak Division of Economics, A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna - 800 001, Bihar


Food security is said to be existed when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. This by any indicator, be it malnutrition, be it hunger index or level of anaemia, does not exist in India. Surprisingly, this situation remains unchanged even after India being claimed to be food sufficient. In this context and having record of inefficient public distribution system as a means to distribute food to poor people, the likely to be reformed system under the food security Act, 2013, brings hopes as well as scepticism towards securing food in India. This paper discusses both opportunities as well as challenges towards ensuring food security through the Act. While the Act is expected to bring down the errors of exclusion and inclusion in the beneficiary list of PDS, and gives a window of opportunity to enhance women empowerment through giving right to women, challenges remain how to repair the broken delivery mechanism, and more importantly how to finance cost for implementing the programme aiming to provide subsidised food to 67 per cent of population. Challenges seem to be deeper for backward States due to their more dreadful distribution system, weaker administration, empty treasury, and unfavourable demographic structure. The additional cost that a State has to bear for many schemes financed by Central-State partnership, will be burdensome for any State in general and for an underdeveloped State in particular. Furthermore, this paper argues that the provision of supplying food will have partial impact on food security if one goes by the definition of food security since the programme will function against the preferred food items. As evidence suggests, cereals are no more among preferred foodgrains which are substituted by high valued food items containing protein, fat etc. Therefore, the much needed effort would be, increasing purchasing power than solely supplying foodgrains and some nutritional supplements towards ensuring food security in India.


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How to Cite

Dhak, B. (2014). Food Security Act, 2013: Opportunities and Challenges for the Backward States in India. Journal of Rural Development, 33(4), 475–491. Retrieved from