Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN defines ‘hunger’ as an uncomfortable or painful physical sensation caused by insufficient consumption of dietary energy. In the 2020 Global Hunger Index (GHI), India ranks 94th out of the 107 countries. With a score of 27.2, India has a level of hunger that is serious.
The reasons why behind India’s persistent problem of hunger are as follows:
Poverty: The major reason which restricts the food choices and has been causative factor of hunger related deaths.
Infective food policies implementation: The schemes and policies like ICDS and NHM have not achieved the adequate coverage due to the poor implementation.
Climate change impact: Erratic rainfall and increasing frequency of extreme climatic events have impacted agricultural activities leading to poor food production.
Corruption: Corruption in PDS is widely recognized.
Agricultural issues: The change from multi to mono cropping systems limits the diversity of agricultural products.
Gender inequality: In many parts women’s nutritional requirements are often not met as they consume whatever is left after everyone else has eaten.
Pandemic effect: The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified food shortage. Over 300 people have been reported to have lost lives due to starvation.
Government initiatives are taken to combat hunger are:
The National Food Security Mission.
Rastriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY).
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PM-FBY).
Integrated Schemes on Oilseed, Pulses, Palm Oil and Maize (ISOPOM).
E-Market place as well as massive irrigation and soil and water harvesting programs.
Need of the hour:
The UN priority group partners with the government to scale-up nutrition services and improve nourishment practices. A more efficient, sustainable, element-smart, nutrition-sensitive and strong technology approach in agriculture and food system is required to achieve the Zero Hunger Goal in India