India's journey from a food-deficit nation to a food-surplus nation can play a crucial role in times of global conflicts and climate crisis while holding the G20 presidency.
About Food Security
Food security means that all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.
A similar idea is also present in the Sustainable development goals.
SDG1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
SDG2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
SDG3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
About G20, or Group of Twenty:
The G20 is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union, with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation representing around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
It includes 19 countries, including, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Indonesia, Canada, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the USA, China, France, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the European Union (EU).
India In G20 Ecosystem:
India is currently a part of the G20 Troika (current, previous, and incoming G20 Presidencies) which includes Italy, India, and Indonesia.
During India’s presidency tenure, Brazil and Indonesia would make up the troika.
For the first time, the troika would be having three developing nations and emerging economies, providing a strong narrative of the concerns of these economies.
Previous efforts-Matera Declaration:
The Matera Declaration reflects the Indian concern for the welfare of small and medium farmers, promoting local food cultures and recognizing Agri-diversity.
Here the G20 ministers recognized that poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable food systems, are key to ending hunger.
Livelihood, health, digital access, and climate action should now constitute the new developmental priorities.
G20 Presidency as an opportunity for India:
The global situation regarding Food Security has worsened with growing conflicts, and spiraling climate crises like droughts, floods, cyclones, and economic downturns.
This has kept global and regional food security as one of the priority agendas of the G20 for many years now.
Against this backdrop, India’s presidency of the G20 offers a historical opportunity for India to share its successful journey in moving from a food-deficit nation to a food-surplus nation.
It can play a key role to address the growing challenges of food security for creating resilient and equitable food systems.
The objective of the Indian Presidency:
Primarily India is will be focused on global economic vulnerabilities:
Dealing with Energy Security: Under investment in energy infrastructure
Dealing with Food Securities: Geopolitical developments
Other key priorities are climate, digital, and health.
The Presidency provides an opportunity to showcase India’s leadership inter-alia in climate action and climate commitments.
Five action points: The G20 Presidency also provides an opportunity to fast-track the processes and commitments that were started through the pioneering UN Food Systems Summit, held by the G20 leadership, for global food systems transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030
Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all;
Shift to sustainable consumption patterns;
Boost nature-positive production;
Advance equitable livelihoods, and
Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress
Summarising India’s Journey towards Sustainable Food Security
Intervention in agri-markets and prices
Agri-research and extension (Green Revolution)
Focus on Horticulture
Integrated Child Development Services
Targeted public distribution system
Mid-day meal scheme
National Food Security Act, 2013
Current Framework for Food Security in India:
Constitutional Provision: There is no explicit provision regarding the right to food in the constitution of India, but the fundamental right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution can be interpreted to include the right to live with human dignity, which may include the right to food and other basic necessities.
Buffer Stock: Food Corporation of India (FCI) has the prime responsibility of procuring food grains at minimum support price (MSP) and stored in its warehouses at different locations and from there it is supplied to the state governments in terms of requirement.
Public Distribution System: Over the years, the Public Distribution System has become an important part of the Government’s policy for the management of the food economy in the country.
PDS is supplemental in nature and is not intended to make available the entire requirement of any of the commodities.
National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA): It marks a paradigm shift in the approach to food security from welfare to a rights-based approach.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY): PMGKAY is a part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to help the poor fight the battle against Covid-19.
The government was able to provide a swift and resilient response to the COVID-19 pandemic and avoid supply chain disruption and economic shock using its robust public distribution system.