Tackling Hunger in India

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Tackling Hunger in India

  1. 1. Tackling Hunger in India: Prospects and Challenges Biraj Patnaik Principal Adviser Office of the Commissioners to the Supreme Court (Right to Food Case) www.sccommissioners.org
  2. 2. Hunger Map IFPRI 2009
  3. 3. Underweight Children: A Severe Problem in South Asia
  4. 4.
  5. 5. NFHS The underweight prevalence (children under age 5) varied from 60% in Madhya Pradesh to 20 % in Mizoram
  6. 6. Progress in reducing child malnutrition has been uneven <ul><li>Improvements in 16 states </li></ul><ul><li>Largest improvements: </li></ul><ul><li> 2005-06 1998-99 % diff. </li></ul><ul><li>Orissa 44.0 54.4 10.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Maharashtra 39.7 49.6 9.9 </li></ul><ul><li>Chhattisgarh 52.1 60.8 8.7 </li></ul><ul><li>HP 36.2 43.6 7.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Rajasthan 44.0 50.6 6.6 </li></ul>
  7. 7. Situation worsens in 13 states <ul><li>2005-06 1998-99 % diff. </li></ul><ul><li>Assam 40.4 36.0 -4.4 </li></ul><ul><li>Jharkhand 59.2 54.3 -4.9 </li></ul><ul><li>MP 60.3 53.5 -6.8 </li></ul><ul><li>Haryana 41.9 34.6 -7.3 </li></ul>Also in Bihar, Gujarat and Kerala
  8. 8. <ul><li>Food availability </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrient in-take </li></ul><ul><li>Seasonality of food and water </li></ul><ul><li>Nutrition and health education </li></ul><ul><li>Absence of community workers/ANMs/Nurses </li></ul><ul><li>Non-access to cheap medicines </li></ul><ul><li>Diarrhoea, dysentery, fever, malaria </li></ul><ul><li>Non-availability of health services-SHC/PHC/CHC </li></ul><ul><li>Immunization / ANC / PNC/ emergency care </li></ul><ul><li>Low institutional delivery </li></ul>HIGH MALNUTRITION <ul><li>Low Birth Weight Babies </li></ul><ul><li>Early marriage and pregnancy </li></ul><ul><li>Non-spacing/anaemia among women </li></ul><ul><li>Weak public health measures </li></ul><ul><li>Malaria, Water </li></ul><ul><li>Infections, Diseases </li></ul><ul><li>Sanitation </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural practices </li></ul><ul><li>Breast feeding </li></ul><ul><li>Food consumption during pregnancy </li></ul><ul><li>Unsafe and unclean deliveries </li></ul>Why high Malnutrition
  9. 9. <ul><li>India has the highest underweight children among the BRIC and SAARC countries </li></ul><ul><li>Reasons: Inadequate access to food+ Lack of education of mother + Poor sanitation + Unsafe drinking water </li></ul><ul><li>Underweight children </li></ul>Nutrition: Very high percentage of underweight children - Even compared to SAARC countries (HDR 2011)
  10. 10. <ul><li>Among industrial states, Gujarat has a high incidence of malnutrition among SC and ST women . </li></ul><ul><li>In spite of high economic growth Gujarat fares the worst in terms of overall hunger index among high per-capita income states. </li></ul><ul><li>It ranked 13 out of 17 major states in hunger index, below Orissa, UP, WB, and Assam etc. </li></ul>Economic Growth versus Malnutrition Reduction (HDR 2011)
  11. 11. Open defecation - serious threat to health & nutritional status (HDR 2011) <ul><li>Improvement in households with access to sanitation facilities from 40 % in 2002 to 51 % in 2008-9 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Large inter state variations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Less than 2% hhs in Delhi lacked access to toilet facility compared to 79% in Orissa </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Legal Action on the Right to Food <ul><li>Initiated in 2001 following a PIL filed in the Supreme Court by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) asking for the Right to Food to be made a fundamental right. </li></ul><ul><li>The case has emerged as the longest continuing mandamus in the world on the Right to Food. </li></ul><ul><li>So far, more than 70 interim orders have been passed in this case . </li></ul>
  13. 13. Outcomes so far <ul><li>Mainstreamed discourse on the Right to Food in India </li></ul><ul><li>Principle of universal entitlements established with the universalisation of the Mid Day Meal and ICDS programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Conditions created for enactment of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act </li></ul><ul><li>Supreme Court orders help to convert 9 food and employment schemes into legal entitlements that are justiciable </li></ul><ul><li>Supreme Court orders result in massive increases in budget allocations for all the nine schemes </li></ul>
  14. 14. Distinctive features <ul><li>Special focus on creating specific entitlements for marginalised groups such as the urban homeless, single women and persons with disabilities by. </li></ul><ul><li>Supreme Court sets up The Supreme Court Commissioners office as an independent oversight body, outside of Government </li></ul><ul><li>Supreme Court orders result in massive increases in budget allocations for all the nine schemes </li></ul>
  15. 15. The National Food Security Act
  16. 16. Imperatives for legislating the Right to Food <ul><li>Moral Imperative </li></ul><ul><li>(High growth and yet hunger and malnutrition persist alongside poor social indicators) </li></ul><ul><li>Political Imperative </li></ul><ul><li>( Legislature vs.Judiciary ) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Electoral” imperative </li></ul><ul><li>( Anti-incumbency in the context of the 2009 General and State Elections ) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Key elements proposed by Civil Society as the framework for the NFSA? <ul><li>Offer legislative sanction to legal entitlements </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthen existing programmes. </li></ul><ul><li>Create new sets of entitlements for very marginalised groups and vulnerable communities. </li></ul><ul><li>Establish independent monitoring institutions empowered to redress grievances effectively (including punitive legal action) </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthen the “protect” and “respect” elements of the Right to Food including protection of livelihoods and production issues. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Issues and Challenges <ul><li>1. Universal or targeted? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Should the Act be applicable only to BPL families as currently envisaged? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Food or Food plus? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vision of the Food Ministry about the Act is restricted to provisioning of 25 kgs of food grains at Rs.3 per kg ONLY for BPL families </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government does not recognize nutrition as a capability contingent on factors other than just provisioning of subsidised food . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food alone is not sufficient; need more things to be in place </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Is it affordable? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the financial implications? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will the entitlement be financed? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Will it see the light of day? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No ownership by key institutions including the PMO and the Planning Commission. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of consensus within civil society. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unlikely to attain convergence of schemes operated by five Ministries </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Thank you

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