- Critical review of beneficiaries: A critical review of whether all 810 million need free ration is warranted. This will help government target only the intended groups.
- Welcome measures: The recent decision by the Cabinet to extend free food grain till the end of this year (Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana/PMGKAY) under the National Food Security Act 2013 (NFSA) is a bold step to achieve key SDG goals.
- The government has launched rainbow revolutions, to promote resource development and environmental sustainability.
- Bright spot: According to the United Nations’ multidimensional poverty data, India has been able to achieve household food security and reduce poverty to 16.4%.
- Persistent challenges: Due to economic inequality, poverty, low affordability of food, and lack of sanitation and clean drinking water India still has 40% below five years of children malnourished.
- Role of rural farmers: As per the 10th Agriculture census smallholders and marginal farmers play a vital role not only for rural economy but also for alleviating the current problems of hunger and poverty in the country.
What has the Government done to Reduce Hunger and Poverty?
- National Food Security Act, 2013
- Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana
- National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan)
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
What Should India do to Achieve SDG goal?
- India needs a well-designed strategy with a well-monitored implementation plan that must include:
- the promotion of nutrient-rich high-yielding varieties and hybrids;
- the adoption of GM food crops;
- crop diversification and conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification;
- promoting secondary and speciality agriculture, and using local food systems ecoregion-wise,
- an emphasis on farming systems around crops, horticulture, livestock, fishery, and agroforestry.
- an enabling policy environment and institutional infrastructure for improving the sustainable development index (SDI).
- For achieving the SDGs for better food, nutrition and environmental security it is important to revisit and strengthen the ongoing national programmes.
- These programmes aim to ensure rural credit, health insurance, crop and livestock insurance, housing for the poor, improved and efficient irrigation/micro-irrigation systems, the construction of village godowns, youth skill development and self-employment, need-based fertiliser use based on soil test analysis, and linking farmers to markets.