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Hunger and food security bill

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Food security Bill is debated now and the Govt. of India may pass a National Act to facilitate a efficent and effective proggramme for providing natioal food security.

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Hunger and food security bill

  1. 1. Think of Child hunger in India 2010
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  4. 4. Food insecurity  “Food insecurity exists when all people, at all times, do not have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” Food & Agricultural Organization (1996)  Food security has three dimensions _ Food Availability, Food Access and Food absorption. 4
  5. 5. Food insecurity prevails in India-2010 5
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  7. 7. Population below poverty line is significant 7
  8. 8. The proportion of rural population that is BPL At least four alternative figures are available: 28 per cent from the Planning Commission, 5O per cent from the N.C. Saxena Committee report; 42 per cent from the Tendulkar Committee report, and 80 per cent or so from the - National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector (NCEUS) 8
  9. 9. The proportion of rural population that is BPL  The main exception is the Saxena Committee report, where, the 50 per cent figure is based on an independent argument about the required coverage of the BPL Census.  Other reports produce alternative figures by simply shifting the poverty line. 9
  10. 10. In deciding the coverage of the BPL Census, allowance must be made not only for targeting errors, which can be very large, but-also for other considerations, including the fact that under-nutrition rates in India tend to be much higher than poverty estimates: This gap is not so surprising, considering that official "poverty line" is really a destitution line. The consumption basket that can be bought at the poverty line is extremely meager. It was an important contribution of the NCEUS report to point out that even a moderately enhanced poverty line basket, costing RS. 20 per person per day, would be unaffordable for a large majority of the population. How would you like to live on Rs. 20 a day? .. 10
  11. 11. BPL Census methodology and Targeting of PDS  Universal vs targeted _ PDS  When targeted PDS is implemented, possible exclusion errors may occur.  As an aspect of „right to life‟ under Article 21 of constitution, is a „right to food‟, a fundamental right of all citizens of India? 11
  12. 12. FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY-1 Initiatives to improve the nutritional status of the population during the last five decades include:  Increasing food production and building buffer stocks.  Improving food distribution and building up the public distribution system [PDS]  Improving household food security through:  improving purchasing power,  food for work programmes and  direct or indirect food subsidy. 12
  13. 13. FOOD AND NUTRITION SECURITY-2  Food supplementation to address special needs of  the vulnerable groups,  Integrated Child Development services [ICDS] and  mid-day meals at secondary schools  Nutrition education, especially through  Food and Nutrition Board [FNB] and  ICDS. 13
  14. 14. early childcare is very important  People below poverty line neglect the young. India continues to lose 6 % of our newborns before their first birthday; 50 % of our toddlers to malnutrition and a whole generation to poor health, low skills and poverty.  Can we afford to ignore the role that crèches play in the survival, development and well-being of young children? 14
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  17. 17. What is a crèche? • A crèche is not just an enabling mechanism so that mothers can work, but central to the battle against malnutrition, low birth weight and infant mortality. • It essentially facilitates an aware adult to take on the small tasks involved in childcare for children under three years of age such as patient feeding of small katories of soft food three or four times a day. Continued… 17 17
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  26. 26. Tribute to Amartya Amartya Sen received the Nobel Prize in 1998, for restoring “an ethical dimension” to the discussion of vital economic problems by combining tools from economics and philosophy. The prize recognized Sen’s contributions in the fields of social choice theory, welfare economics, and economic measurement. He is credited with making inroads into the assessment of poverty and the evaluation of inequality—making possible better social welfare comparisons
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  30. 30.  Throughout his life, he has avoided counseling governments, preferring to place his views in the public domain for discussion. “I like arguing rather than dispensing privileged advice, but I also think social change comes best from public argument,” 30
  31. 31. A shift needs to happen towards enforceable rights, towards implementation through authentic participatory development, from target group handouts towards empowerment and agency of the poor, socially excluded and the deprived; their capacity building, participation and change in their understanding of interlinking dimension and the need to self mobilize for peaceful public action and more genuine democracy. Amartya Sen advocates economic growth as a means FOR human development, building capabilities and entitlements. Sen is celebrated in India yet his advice goes unheeded. 31
  32. 32. The Kolkata Group, an independent initiative inspired and chaired by Amartya Sen, has demanded that the Right to Food Act be made non-discriminatory and universal to cover legal food entitlements for all Indians. The Eighth Kolkata Group Workshop (February 2010), has argued for creating durable legal entitlements that guarantee the right to food for all in the country. Sen stressed the need for the firm recognition of the right to food, and comprehensive legislation to guarantee everyone the right. 32
  33. 33. “A Right to Food Act covering enforceable food entitlements should be non-discriminatory and universal. Entitlements guaranteed by the Act should include food grains from the Public Distribution System (PDS), school meals, nutrition services for children below the age of six years, social security provision, and allied programmes” 33
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  35. 35. For India, with nearly fifty per cent children underweight, to make freedom from hunger a legal right is a golden dream that needs hard work to be true.  It involves besides an universal PDS, many interventions & entitlements like  Child nutrition,  Social security,  Health care and even  Property rights. Framing National Food Security Act requires creative work, public debate and political commitment. 35
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  37. 37. An universal PDS is suggested  It may be with increased food subsidy.  It could be combined with cost saving measures such as  decentralized procurement,  Self-management of Fair price shops by Gram Panchayats and  a range of transparency safe-guards. 37
  38. 38. Evidence is now mounting in many parts of our country that there continues to exist what Amartya Sen calls persistent mass hunger, especially acute malnutrition among many children. Recent reports in the media about poor children eating mud and silica to deal with their hunger in village „Ganne' in district Allahabad appeared in The Hindustan Times on April 4 and on BBC on May15. These reports raise, once again, serious issues of abject neglect of children and point towards a most uncaring administration. 38
  39. 39. Collapse of security-1 An enquiry was ordered by the Supreme Court in response to the media reports on the situation by Ms. Arundhati Dhuru and Prof. Jean Dreze, now member National Advisory Council. The main findings of the enquiry are that there is a total collapse of food security related schemes and 80 per cent of the people are deprived of their entitlements. People are living with starvation and hunger due to acute poverty. 90 per cent of the children examined suffer from severe malnutrition of Grade IV. 39
  40. 40. Collapse of security-2  Elected representatives and administration have failed to secure people's access to the right to food and failed to protect the life and livelihood of families in the affected villages, communities and beyond.  Many of the people in Ganne village are working as bonded labourers. 40
  41. 41. The Right to Food Campaign, civil society and economists like Jean Dreze, point out several facts. The poverty estimates of about 40 per cent given by the Tendulkar Committee to determine the number of poor who will receive subsidised food under the forthcoming National Food Security Act is inadequate to our current situation of hunger, starvation and malnutrition. Others that have submitted their reports are the National Committee for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) set up by the Government of India, that estimates that 77 % of our population have an income of less than Rs.20 per day in 2004-05; the Saxena Committee set up by the Ministry of Rural Development that says that 50 % of our population should be considered below the poverty line. 41
  42. 42. Have the right priorities, and a moral courage  The paucity of resources can no longer be an excuse for keeping our people hungry. It is more a case of having the right priorities, and a moral deficit. The NCEUS report appointed by the government points out that the safety net can be provided within the available resources and capacity of the government. If a universal subsidy can work in Tamil Nadu state and PDS can work in Kerela state why can't it be made to work elsewhere? 42
  43. 43. A Right to Food Act is needed on compassionate grounds.  India wants to reach the moon but the question is whether it can reach its own starving children.  Who cares if the Commonwealth of the “Games” is so uncommonly unequal.  According to Harsh Mander, a Food Commissioner appointed by the Supreme Court, about ten homeless die every day in Delhi. Says Mander “That so many people die each day at our doorstep, close to the centers of power, is a reminder how scarce is compassion in our public life.” 43
  44. 44. At present, the government supplies 27.4 million tonne of rice and wheat for PDS, which costs it Rs 56,000 crore (in 2010-11). It estimates to have 50 million tonne of grain in its godowns at the worst point of the year. Back of the envelope calculations show the first year of NFSA, when one-fourth of the blocks or districts get almost universal coverage and special nutrition schemes are launched, would require around 50 million tonne of grain. The subsidy bill will go up by around Rs 20,000 crore. But even so, the increase of fiscal subsidy might require only a political decision; supply of grain, on the other hand, is a governance issue that the NAC will have to fight and push hard. 44
  45. 45. ……….a governance issue  The government has announced a 'second green revolution' through the non-irrigated lands,  but the agricultural ministry's past record does not inspire confidence.  To assure itself that the NFSA does not come undone in future years, the NAC will need to set the course for this second 'revolution' and push the government to procure more.  The latter is beset with macroeconomic concerns of how increased government purchase will hit prices and inflation. 45
  46. 46.  Enhancing production alongside will become mandatory.  This would be the toughest bit to ensure because these issues will lie beyond the mandate of the NFSA. They would have to be embedded in an overall economic policy shift that will require increased budgetary allocations to agriculture, combined with the same intellectual vigour that India witnessed during the first green revolution. 46

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