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India’s Food Response as ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’

Context

India has been providing humanitarian assistance for food security across the world. From importing food grains to being self sufficient exporters, India has various lessons for developing world.

Relevance

GS-III: Issues related to Direct and Indirect Farm Subsidies and Minimum Support Prices; Public Distribution System – Objectives, Functioning, Limitations, Revamping; Issues of Buffer Stocks and Food Security; Technology Missions; Economics of Animal-Rearing.

Dimensions of the Article

  • Problem of Food Security
  • India’s Outreach
  • India: From Sufficiency to Assistance
  • Safety Nets for Food Security
  • Catalyst for Peace
  • Way Forward

Problem of Food Security

  • Global Hunger has been on the rise due to climate crisis, CoVID-19 pandemic, Conflicts, Poverty and Inequality.
  • In 2019, about 650 Million suffer from chronic hunger.
  • However, the number of people on the brink of starvation has doubled from, 135 Million to 270 Million due to the pandemic.
  • Global burden of malnutrition remains an issue where almost 150 Million people are stunted, 50 Million are wasted, and 2 Billion adults are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies.
  • The fallout of fuel and food prices due to Russia Ukraine Conflict has added to the financial burden.

India’s Outreach

  • Invokes the concept of ‘Vasudhiava Kutumbkam’.
  • It underlines the collective nature of crises and the response that is needed.
  • It is relevant not just for global peace, cooperation, environment protection but also humanitarian response including rising global hunger and inclusive growth.
  • India has assisted people of Afghanistan in collaboration with World Food Programme.
  • India has provided aid to several countries in Africa, Middle East and South East Asia during the pandemic or for overcoming natural calamities.

India: From Sufficiency to Assistance

  • The journey to self sufficiency and onwards to assistance was achieved by the Green Revolution.
  • In 2020, India produced over 300 Million Tonnes of foodgrains and had food stock of 100 Million Tonnes.
  • India exported 20 Million Tonnes of Wheat and Rice.
  • India has achieved this via incentivizing farmers, robust policies and strengthening forward and backward linkages.
  • India’s surplus production makes it a key player in humanitarian assistance programs.

Safety Nets for Food Security

  • National Food Safety Act, 2013 (NFSA) has been one of the major contributions to equity in food.
  • NFSA anchors Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), the Mid-Day Mean Scheme (MDM) and the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).
  • India’s safety net today has a reach of about a Billion people.
  • Food Safety nets have been linked with public procurement and food stock policy.

Catalyst for Peace

  • India’s support to other countries in food security must continue for furthering global peace.
  • WFP contributes in four areas – ‘bolstering social cohesion, strengthening the link between citizen and state, resolving grievances within and between communities.’

Way Forward

India can do more and is doing more on delivering the goal of Zero Hunger and equity globally. India and WFP can leverage their partnership to contribute to addressing food emergencies and strengthening humanitarian response embodying the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’.

Source – The Hindu

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October 2022
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