Eliminating Hunger – UPSC GS2

  • India ranked 94/107 in Global Hunger Index 2020 behind Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.
  • 194 million people go hungry everyday in India, comprising about 23% of the world’s undernourished population.
Right to food: The Supreme Court declared Right to Food as part of Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • In 2018-19, India produced 283.37 million tons of food grains.
  • Ranks first in millets and second in rice and wheat production in the world. India’s horticultural crops, such as fruits and vegetables, are also in surplus (over 313 million tons in 2018-19).
Associated concerns: Struggling ecosystem
  • Paradox of plenty: self-sufficiency in agricultural production, yet, mass hunger across States
  • Wastage of food grain: Almost 62,000 tons of food grains were damaged in Food Corporation of India warehouses between 2011 and 2017- data by Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • Poor management of the food ecosystem: while there is a proliferation of millions of ineligible and bogus ration cards, there are also, simultaneously, a multitude of genuinely poor families that do not even possess ration cards.
  • Outdated Methods: Most of the FCI godowns have a ‘Cover and plinth’ system where jute bags are used leading to fungal growth. Steel Silos used in developed countries.
Two-pronged policy is needed
  1. Enhancing the purchasing power of farmers: Government must ensure remunerative prices for farm produce using the Minimum Support Price (MSP) as a tool.
  2. Improving the Public Distribution System and Public Procurement:
  • Revamping the Annapurna yojana to cover more needy people (Presently, 10 kilograms of food grains are distributed per month free of cost to destitute persons above 65 years of age, with no or meagre subsistence.)
  • Include pulses in the Public Distribution System: Global Pulse Confederation, pulses are part of a healthy, balanced diet and have been shown to have an important role in preventing illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
The food security is being pushed forward through several social welfare schemes like the National Food Security Act, Annapurna scheme, the Public Distribution System, and there is a need to dovetail these efforts with schemes like POSHAN Abhiyaan, Mid-day meal scheme and ICDS to meet nutritional security.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top