India faces a paradox of being one of the largest producers of agricultural products on one hand and performing poorly in hunger index on the other hand. Discuss, also suggest ways to address this issue.

Hunger is the distress that arises from insufficient calorie intake.

The Paradox:

  • After Independence, India was still a net importer of grains, as our agriculture sector was not developed. We were dependent on PL480 contract with USA where ships filled with grains would come from USA to India.
  • However, the green revolution led by MS Swaminathan, Bahadur Shastri & Norman Borlaug, using HYV seeds changes us into net exporter of grains.
  • Thus, we have plenty of food but the poor are still hungry.
  • India ranks 115/131 in the Global Hunger Index.
  • Hence the paradox.

Challenges:

  • Archaic essential commodities Act, has hampered the development of cold storages & logistics infrastructure.
  • APMC issues have caused inefficiencies in market.
  • Skewed MSP policies have sent wrong price signal hence pulses and millets are in shortage.
  • Heavy corruption in PDS distribution & lack of benefits for Migrants.
  • Lack of buffer stock & modern Agri-silos to store grains.

Way Forward:

  • Computerization & reform of PDS system. One nation, one ration card is a step in right direction.
  • APMC reforms needs to be done.
  • Use of Big-Data, AI & Machine Learning to identify regions of stress & direct resources.
  • Exploring idea of Universal Basic Income, if not, atleast explore DBT for food security as done in Dadar and Nagar Haveli.
  • Focusing on pulses which help not only vegetarians but also the poor.

Conclusion:

With these steps, hunger can be tackled. Only then India can achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

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