Economics (NCERT) Notes

4.2 Hunger and Food Insufficiency

Story of Ramu

Ramu works as a casual labourer in agriculture in Raipur village. His eldest son Somu who is 10 years old also works as a pali to look after the cattle of the Sarpanch of the village Satpal Singh. Somu is employed for the whole year by the Sarpanch and is paid a sum of Rs 1,000 for this work.


Ramu has three more sons and two daughters but they are too young to work on the field. His wife Sunhari is also (part time) working as house cleaner for the livestock, removing and managing cow dung. She gets ½ litre milk and some cooked food along with vegetables for her daily work. Besides she also works in the field along with her husband in the busy season and supplements his earnings.


Agriculture being a seasonal activity employs Ramu only during times of sowing, transplanting and harvesting. He remains unemployed for about 4 months during the period of plant consolidation and maturing in a year. He looks for work in other activities. Some times he gets employment in brick laying or in construction activities in the village. By all his efforts, Ramu is able to earn enough either in cash or kind for him to buy essentials for two square meals for his family.


However, during the days when he is unable to get some work, he and his family really face difficulties and sometimes his small kids have to sleep without food.


Milk and vegetables are not a regular part of meals in the family.

Ramu is food insecure during 4 months when he remains unemployed because of the seasonal nature of agriculture work.



(i) Why is agriculture a seasonal activity?

(ii) Why is Ramu unemployed for about four months in a year?

(iii) What does Ramu do when he is unemployed?

(iv) Who are supplementing income in Ramu’s family?

(v) Why does Ramu face difficulty when he is unable to have work?

(vi) When is Ramu food insecure?


India’s tryst with food sufficiency

• ‘Green Revolution’ has caused drastic increase in the production of wheat and rice, which has made India almost self sufficient in food production.

• India has become self-sufficient in foodgrains during the last 30 years because of a variety of crops grown all over the country.

• The increase in food grains was, however, disproportionate in different states.


Production of Foodgrains in India (Million Tonnes)


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