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21st August 2023 (9 Topics)

The key to India’s hunger challenge

Context:

For India in present time, accelerating economic growth and making it more inclusive, coupled with an increase in farm productivity is important which can help end malnutrition.

India’s Fight against Poverty:

  • Post-independence efforts: Addressing poverty, hunger, and malnutrition has been a core responsibility of elected governments, resulting in a substantial reduction in extreme poverty from over 80% to around 15% since independence.
  • Current focus: India's remarkable strides in poverty reduction and economic transformation are evident as the nation's economic resilience stemming from strategic economic reforms and substantial foreign exchange reserves, positioning India favorably relative to its neighboring countries.
  • Initiatives taken: India shows promise in nearly eradicating poverty aided by successful agricultural revolutions like the Green and White Revolutions has made India a major rice exporter and a leader in milk and cotton production.

Challenges looming:

  • Malnutrition- a major consequence of poverty: Malnutrition among children under five remains concerning, with 32% underweight, 35% stunted, and 19% wasted.
  • Threat from Climate change: The looming threat of climate change and its impact on extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and floods, poses a significant challenge.
  • Hunger and rising population: The increasing population is one of the major reasons for lack of effective policy implementation and other concerns like increase in demand of food.

Way forward:

  • To focus on women education: India's low female labor force participation at around 30% underscores the need for better education and skill development for women.
  • Taking National growth with livelihood need: For promoting family planning and contributing to national growth, will help in enhancing agricultural productivity while prioritizing nutrition and climate resilience is vital.
  • Increasing agricultural R&D investment, unlike outdated price controls, is crucial. Engaging institutions like Punjab Agriculture University can drive a sustainable and nutritious agricultural revolution.
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