The catastrophic climate change, COVID-19 pandemic shocks, wars, poverty, and inequality are all contributing to an increase in global hunger. India, via its cooperation with the World Food Programme, the world’s biggest humanitarian organisation, can contribute to resolving this issue in the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kumtumbakam (Earth is one family). There are approximately 150 million stunted children and 50 million wasting children in the world today. Furthermore, every other child, as well as two billion adults, are deficient in micronutrients.
In 2016, more people went hungry than in 2015.In reality, in 2019 there were 43 million more people suffering from chronic hunger than in 2014. The Covid-19 epidemic has been a key contributor to this rise.Furthermore, the Afghanistan conflict will exacerbate the situation.Food and gasoline prices are also being driven by the Ukraine situation.It will add to the burden of millions of people who are already struggling (particularly the poor and marginalised).
- Since being cited in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to underline the collective nature of crises and the need for a matching response, the concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (meaning ‘Earth is One Family’) from India’s traditional philosophical outlook has gained huge relevance over the past 75 years.
- The notion outlines how many nations come together as a collective and are bound by a shared bond of compassion and humanity.
- India’s Prime Minister highlighted the country’s vision on the world as one family in his 2014 UNGA address, emphasising its importance not only for global peace, collaboration, and environmental preservation, but also for humanitarian response, such as increasing global hunger and leaving no one behind.
- Under the auspices of the United Nations Food Programme, India is delivering humanitarian food aid to the people of Afghanistan.
- For example, food assistance (in kind) was recently provided to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, across Pakistan’s Attari border with Amritsar.
- In addition, in the aftermath of Covid-19, India has sent food relief to a number of African and Middle Eastern/Western Asian nations.
- In the past, similar aid was delivered to Yemen and Zimbabwe, for example.
How did India achieve this?
- India has achieved significant progress in food production since the Green Revolution, with an inspirational road toward food self-sufficiency.
- By 2020, India had produced over 300 million tonnes of grains and had accumulated a 100 million-tonne food store.
- India exported a total of 20 million tonnes of rice and wheat in 2021, a new high.
- The United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 also emphasised India’s lengthy path from chronic food scarcity to excess food production, which provides numerous useful lessons for other developing nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
- Between 1991 and 2015, agriculture diversified beyond field crops, putting a larger emphasis on horticulture, dairy, animal husbandry, and fisheries.
How does India manage hunger domestically
- The National Food Security Act (NFSA) of 2013, which governs the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), Mid-Day Meals (MDM), and Integrated Child Development Services, is one of India’s most significant contributions to food justice (ICDS).
- Public procurement and buffer stock policies are connected to food safety nets and inclusiveness.TDPS, which has a large store of food grains, provided a lifeline for marginalised and vulnerable households during the worldwide food crisis of 2008-2012, as well as more recently during the Covid-19 outbreak.
- The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), which was launched in 2020 to give assistance to 800 million NFSA beneficiaries from the effects of Covid-19, has been extended for another six months, till September 2022.
- Global peace will be aided by humanitarian food assistance and collaborations that help generate strong policy innovations in the form of food safety nets and resilient livelihoods.
- For India’s economic trajectory and to preserve good relations with other nations, it must continue to help its neighbours and other countries dealing with food crisis and insecurity.
- The Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP) in 2020 underlined the importance of food access in preserving peace. India’s policies and institutions must continue to combat malnutrition and hunger by increasing access and inclusion.
- Land reforms, new regulatory systems, governmental backing, and involvement in Agri markets and prices, as well as Agri research, are all lessons that developing nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America may learn from India’s journey from chronic food scarcity to excess food producer.
How to structure:
- Give a brief intro about global hunger, with statistics
- Mention some of the reasons for the rise of global hunger
- Examine India’s role and position in humanitarian food assistance- mention about Vasudaiva Kudumbakam. Mention the case of Afghanistan, African countries etc.
- Way forward