India’s Evolving Food and Nutrition Scenario: An Overview

  • Srikanta Chatterjee
Part of the Dynamics of Asian Development book series (DAD)


After 60 years of planned economic development, the Indian economy has many achievements to its credit, but the ability to provide its vast population with an adequate, let alone balanced, diet is, sadly, not one of them. While India experienced widespread famines with surprising regularity in the past, independent India can be said to have avoided that. However, hunger and malnutrition have continued to plague India to this day, despite the dramatic improvements in its economic growth in recent decades. This chapter examines the evolution of India’s food economy and its administration since independence in some of its relevant aspects. Its purpose is to understand the underlying issues by identifying the factors and forces responsible for the unresolved problem of India’s food and nutrition insecurity and its concomitant, the widespread maternal and child undernutrition. It looks at the current situation in respect of the availability and affordability of food, and how they affect people at different levels of affluence in both rural and urban India. It then turns to the examination of food and nutrition policies and their interaction with poverty, its measurement and alleviation. The passing of the National Food Security Act in 2013, guaranteeing access to food as a right, is discussed next to assess how its provisions might influence India’s quest for greater food and nutrition security. The chapter finishes on some general observations on the food sector of the Indian economy.


Food security Nutrition security Right to food Child nutrition score (CNU) Child undernutrition index (CUI) 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand

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