Addressing the Rising Global Hunger
• Given the current situation of a shock of a pandemic, conflicts across borders and migrant crisis all around the world the number of people on the brink of starvation has doubled from 135 million people, pre-COVID, a year ago to 270 million.
• The number of people in need of urgent food assistance — estimated at 270 million in 2021 will certainly rise due to few factors which are happening around the world.
• This includes the crisis in Afghanistan and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine will have its impact on the living conditions of the people.
• Various estimates have shown that about 150 million children are stunted, nearly 50 million wasted and many others suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.
• In 2014 UN General Assembly address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “India’s traditional outlook sees the world as one family and that is linked to its Vedic tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.
• This philosophy can certainly be seen in the humanitarian assistance which India has been providing.
• India’s recent and ongoing humanitarian food assistance to the people of Afghanistan, through the United Nations Food Programme (where half of the population needs urgent food assistance to avert a famine) is an example of its commitment and commendable steps towards humanitarian crises.
• The WFP in Afghanistan has in place a massive supply chain and logistics infrastructure, with hundreds of trucks and staff ensuring that food assistance reaches those who need it the most and no one is excluded.
• This makes each contribution and partnership with the Government of India, a lifesaving one for children, women, and men in need.
• In the past two years, India has provided aid to several countries in Africa and the Middle East/West Asia to overcome natural calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic.
• India which was facing chronic food shortage has become a surplus food producer, this itself is a milestone.
• This transformation from chronic food shortage state looking for assistance to a surplus food producer can be attributed to the green revolution.
• In 2020, India produced over 300 million tons of cereals and had built up a food stock of 100 million tonnes.
• One of India’s greatest contributions to equity in food is its National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013 that anchors the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), the Mid-Day meals (MDM), and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).
• Today, India’s food safety nets collectively reach over a billion people.
Source: THE HINDU.