Food grain production is touching new heights every year and we are producing more than sufficient to feed our people without relying on external support. However, sufficient food production is not the only criteria to eliminate hunger. Discuss.

Food grain production is touching new heights every year and we are producing more than sufficient to feed our people without relying on external support. However, sufficient food production is not the only criteria to eliminate hunger. Discuss.

Approach:

  • Introduce with some data showing the annual food grain production in India and rank of India in Global Hunger Index.
  • Discuss the various factors for prevailing hunger situation
  • Conclude with acknowledging the complexity of hunger and associated issues and how the government is tackling them.
Model Answer :

As per the Third Advance Estimates for 2016-17, the total foodgrain production in India is estimated at 273 million tonnes. Despite this, the country is home to one-quarter of all undernourished people worldwide. According to the 2017 hunger index report, India is ranked 100th out of 119 countries.

Various factors behind the worsening hunger situation:

  • Poverty Trap: Poor people neither have resources to produce food nor buy it, which often results them being unable to work enough to get out of the poverty trap.
  • Corruption – According to Amartya Sen, hunger usually arises from food distribution problems, or from governmental policies in the developing world, and not from the insufficiency of food production. Corruption, leakages, exclusion-inclusion error etc. makes the public distribution system inefficient in addressing the issue of hunger and malnutrition.
  • Lack of awareness: Many people do not know about the nutritional component in their diets. As a result, we see the incidents of child stunting, child wasting etc.
  • Socio-Cultural Factors – Hunger in India also has age, gender and caste dimensions. The gender dimension is evident from the World Bank’s report which says that 60% of those who are hungry are female.
  • Food wastage – Food wastage is a big problem in India through the entire food cycle, from farm to fork, majorly due to lack of storage, low capacity in food processing etc.

Conclusion:

  • Hunger in India is a complex issue. It is widespread and the causes are different across various regions.
  • While availability, accessibility and affordability of food needs to be ensured, it is also important to realize that stunting, wasting etc. are not solely determined by food intake but are an outcome of a complex interaction of factors related to genetics, the environment, sanitation and utilisation of food intake.
  • Realising this, the govt. has adopted a multi-pronged strategies such as National Food Security Act, 2013, Mid-Day meal, MGNREGA, Targeted Food distribution, National Nutrition Mission etc. along with sanitation missions like Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.

Subjects : Current Affairs

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