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Food as entitlement: Harsh Mander

HARSH MANDER, The Hindu | January 3, 2013 Ash in the Belly: India’s Unfinished Battle Against Hunger by Harsh Mander Reinventing the discourse around human rights today presents new opportunities to advance the possibilities of justice. An excerpt from Harsh Mander’s just released book Ash in the Belly: India’s Unfinished Battle against Hunger.   There are many ways that the story of human history can be told. One of these is of the unending struggles of oppressed people — to fight their chains, to free themselves and others from the bondages which have enslaved and crushed them.   Each epoch has fashioned its own ideas around which dreams and struggles […]

Need for new food security law – Political gimmick won’t do

by Suman Sahai, The Tribune | July 31, 2012 THE UPA government’s Food Security Bill (FSB) has managed to draw flak from almost every quarter, starting with agencies within the government led by the Minister of Agriculture himself, followed by several experts and public interest groups. This controversial law originates from the National Advisory Council which has drafted it without consultations with scientists, experts, farmers or civil society groups working on agriculture and food issues. Because it has the powerful backing of Sonia Gandhi, this imperfect draft legislation is being pushed in Parliament. The Bill exists in a vacuum and makes no effort to correct any of the problems in […]

Fighting for food security in India

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2012/jul/16/fighting-food-security-india?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038 The food security bill being debated in Delhi is a big step forward, but we need a lot more than a law to combat hunger A farmer works in a field in Uttar Pradesh. India’s national food security bill could mark a significant step towards eradicating hunger. Photograph: Nagender Chhikara/Oxfam In India over the past 15 years, the debate about food, under a rights-based perspective, has become increasingly complex. Concerns about famine, emergency relief and technology-driven green revolutions have given way to discussions on the state’s failure to deliver public distribution programmes, the discrimination these programmes perpetuate, legal entitlements to land, climate change, price volatility and the role of NGOs. In […]

The politics of food for the hungry

ARUNA ROY & NEHA SAIGAL http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/article3470997.ece The 28th of May, marked as “World Hunger Day,” has come and gone but for Pannu Bai Bhil, every day is hunger day. How does someone dealing with chronic hunger view a day marking her plight? Let those of us who overeat at least take stock of a hungry India pitted against bumper crops, number crunching, technologies for profit, markets, and growth rates. The solution for hunger lies in proper distribution of grain, and not in bringing technology as the Prime Minster avers when talking of GM crops. If this government cannot prevent the huge stocks from rotting by distributing food grain adequately and […]

We can’t rid India of the tyranny of the poverty line without a struggle

Biraj Patnaik http://www.deccanchronicle.com/editorial/op-ed/%E2%80%98we-can%E2%80%99t-rid-india-tyranny-poverty-line-without-struggle%E2%80%99-348   Biraj Patnaik, a right to food activist and principal adviser, Office of Commissioners to the Supreme Court in the right to food case, tells Mukesh Ranjan that the government should avoid being distracted by the concept of the poverty line * How do you view the Planning Commission’s new definition of the poverty line, namely, daily per capita expenditure of Rs 28 in urban areas and Rs 22 in rural areas? I have no problem with the Planning Commission or the government coming up with a definition of the poverty line. Unfortunately, the problem that we are facing now is that the poverty line is used […]

The Food, the Bad and the Ugly

P. SAINATH PTIMORE THAN THREE BAGS FULL: Food not reaching those who need it. A file photograph of wheat being loaded at an open FCI godown at Sonepat, Haryana. Average per capita net availability of foodgrain declined in every five-year period of the ‘reforms’ without exception. In the 20 years preceding the reforms — 1972-1991 — it rose every five-year period without exception. The country’s total foodgrain production is expected to touch a record 250 million tons this year (2011-12). Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar PTI, February 17, 2012 Record foodgrain output of 235.88 million tons in 2010-11. Sharad Pawar, PTI, April 6, 2011 India’s foodgrain production hit a fresh […]

From food security to food justice

ANANYA MUKHERJEE  http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2848305.ece The Hindu A quarter of a million women in Kerala are showing us how to earn livelihoods with dignity. If the malnourished in India formed a country, it would be the world’s fifth largest — almost the size of Indonesia. According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 237.7 million Indians are currently undernourished (up from 224.6 million in 2008). And it is far worse if we use the minimal calorie intake norms accepted officially in India. By those counts <http://www.thehindu. com/news/resources/article2803621.ece> (2200 rural/2100 urban), the number of Indians who cannot afford the daily minimum could equal the entire population of Europe. Yet, the Indian elite shrieks at […]

To feed a billion mouths

by Himanshu The writer is a Assistant Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Visiting Fellow, Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi. Image: Amit Dave/Reuters HARSH REALITY Farmers plough a field before sowing cotton seeds in a village in Gujarat. While agricultural growth has picked up in the last seven years, the reality is also that farm business income has started declining. With little breakthrough in terms of technology, chances of production increases are bleak. Nor is the external environment of any help with prices of agricultural commodities expected to remain low because of conditions in the developed countries. But even in our own country, the deceleration in growth […]

Food for all: investing in food security in Asia and the Pacific – issues, innovations, and practices

Food security is a critical issue for Asia and the Pacific. The region is the world’s key supplier and largest consumer of food yet it is also home to the largest number of the world’s poor and hungry. It presents a stark contrast—a food bowl that is full to the brim but cannot feed those who need food the most just to survive. To address food security in a sustainable manner, on 7–9 July 2010, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) joined hands to convene the Investment Forum for Food Security in Asia and the […]

‘Food Security Bill is somewhat defective’ : Dr. MS Swaminathan

Jan 6, 2012, 04.40AM IST Q: Is food security just a concept or is achievable?  A: Of course it is attainable. There are three main issues. First is availability of food in the market. For which farmers have to produce more. Second is access to food, whether one has the money to buy it. That’s what the (food security) Bill aims to achieve. Third is absorption of food in the body, which is a function of clean drinking water. Drinking water is the most important component. That is why Rajiv Gandhi Water Mission, Total Sanitation Mission and National Rural Health Mission should be brought together under the food security Act. […]

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