There is a need to shift focus from food security to nutritional security in India, comment. Also, suggest a framework to achieve nutritional self-reliance.

Hunger is the distress that arises from insufficient calorie intake. Thus, early policymakers focus was ensuring adequate calorie consumption via food security. Hence, India adopted the PDS/T-PDS/I-PDS, and recently the National Food Security Act, 2013.

Challenges:

  • While, food security has improved in India, yet many children suffer from nutrient, mineral and vitamin deficiencies. E.g. Kwashiorkor disease (protein deficiency), Marasmus disease (protein and energy deficiency), Anaemia (iron deficiency), Goitre (Iodine deficiency), etc.
  • It led to rise of hidden hunger and protein malnutrition.
  • Science has established that lack of nutrients can cause diseases like cancer, diabetes type 2, immunodeficiency syndrome, etc.
  • Especially applicable for pregnant and lactating women and children.
  • Thus, there is a need to focus on nutritional security.

Way forward:

  • Fortification of foods with iron for Anaemia and Iodine for goitre.
  • Developing genetically modified foods such as Golden rice by Indian Agricultural Research Institute.
  • “Bharat Poshan Krishi Kosh”, which keeps tabs on crop breeds and nutrient status and developed by Ministry of women and child development to be expanded.
  • Prime Minister overarcing scheme for a holistic nutrition to be implemented on war footing.
  • Suspend skewed MSP policies and instead promote coarse grains such as Jowar, Bajra, and Ragi.

Conclusion:

Thus, by addressing above challenges we can fulfill SDG-2 of zero hunger and SDG-3 of good health and wellbeing for all, as set by UNDP by 2030 time frame.

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