Food Security & Nutrition
The need for research related to food and nutrition aspects in India is always in the forefront. Nutrition security a faraway concept, the situation of food security by itself is in pathetic situation in India. It occupies 67th position within 87 countries of the world with the worst food security status in the GHI- Global Health Index1 (IFPRI, 2011).
Endorsing the IFPRI and FAO statement of “alarming” status of food security in India, the report from MSSRIF2 studies (2008) revealed that,
- 40 per cent of children under the age of three are underweight;
- the number of undernourished has increased substantially;
- there is rise in the level of anemia in women and children; and
- Iodine and vitamin deficiencies increasing.
- Although the MDMP has been operational since 1995, malnutrition, anemia, vitamin A and iodine deficiency are still very prevalent among children in the country.
- In 2010, 94% of all children in the age group of six to nine are mildly, moderately or severely underweight.
- 68% of children below five years of age and 69% of adolescent girls suffer from anemia due to iron and folic acid deficiency.
Thus it is very important to evaluate key welfare and hunger schemes to understand which delivery process works best and is most effective in reaching the beneficiaries. This report compares the two models for providing mid-day meals in schools to identify their respective advantages and disadvantages.
It is well known fact that food and nutrition insecurity is a widespread, deep rooted social evil in India. The enormous question before us is how to find a way to get out of the tangles of hunger.
Major policy interventions:
1. The essential commodities act, 1955: Under the act, all the food items are considered as essential commodities for a common man’s livelihood and the production, procurement, supply and distribution is under the control of Central government.
2. National food security bill, 2013: The bill assures right to food to every citizen of India in subsidized price. The food is assured through,
- Right to receive food items at subsidized prices by antyodaya households, priority households (BPL) and general households (APL).
- Nutritional support to children and pregnant women and lactating mothers (ICDS).
- Nutritional support to school going children (MDMP).
Focus of the study:
1. Integrated child development service (ICDS)
2. Nutrition Intervention programs:
- Kishori Shakti Yojana
- Rajiv Gandhi Scheme For Empowerment Of Adolescent Girls (RGSEAG) and SABLA
- Meeting medical expenses for severely mal nourished children
- Mid-day meal program for school going children
3. Public distribution system:
The concept of food security can be realized successful when dealt in linkage with other areas of development concern but not with solitary approach. It is a complicated issue which is linked to health through malnutrition and to sustainable economic development, environment, and trade.
The health aspect of the portfolio deals with the questions like whether a household gets enough food, how it is distributed within the household/ family members and whether that food fulfils the nutrition needs of all members of the household show that food security is clearly linked to health.
The association of the portfolio with agriculture and rural livelihoods, trade and liberalization is very crucial which cannot be neglected. The relationship can be traced and established as follows,
The impact of trade liberalization on food security and agriculture production sector in most of the developing countries need to be assessed. As agriculture remains the largest employment sector in developing economies, critics argue that trade liberalization may reduce a country’s food security by reducing agricultural employment levels. The researchers opine that liberalization of markets through WTO agreements can be a threatening factor for food security of the communities. There is need to re consider the tariffs of major products to protect national food security and employment levels in developing countries. The portfolio is built on the facts that, in India there is enough food to feed everyone adequately until and unless the problem of distribution is addressed effectively.
The possible research questions linking Food security with agriculture:
- What is the impact of liberalization of food and agricultural trade on agriculture production and in turn on food security?
- How can the overall economic gains from trade benefit those who are most likely to be suffering from food insecurity?
- To what extent can economic and social policies – and food, agricultural and rural development policies – compensate the impacts of international policies, such as those relating to international trade?
- How can food and agricultural production and trade be restrained from the over-exploitation of natural resources that may risk domestic food security in the long term?
- Whether current level of production sufficient to address future food needs of the country?
Figure 1: Linking food security concept with other development issues both at micro and macro level.
Community governance: Greater involvement of Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs) in food delivery at the grassroots level and integration of food and nutrition security objectives in ongoing Government initiatives like the National Food Security Mission is required for the efficient implementation of the scheme.