India’s food response as ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ 

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Context: Global hunger is on the rise, driven by the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic shocks, conflicts, poverty, and inequality.  

India via its partnership with World Food Programme, world’s largest humanitarian agency, can help address this problem embodying the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kumtumbakam (Earth is one family).

What is the situation wrt hunger across the world?

At present, globally, there are about 150 million stunted children, 50 million wasted children. In addition, every other child as well as two billion adults are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies 

More people are living in hunger than in 2015. In fact, 43 million more people suffered from chronic hunger in 2019 in comparison to 2014.  The major cause of this increase has been the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Moreover, the Afghanistan crisis is going to add more. The Ukraine crisis is also driving food and fuel prices. It will add to the burden to the millions (especially the poor and marginalised) who are struggling. 

What efforts have been made to ensure food security in India? 

From sufficiency to assistance: Since the Green Revolution, India has achieved huge progress in food production. Now India has achieved self-sufficiency in food production and it is ready to serve other countries. For example, India exported a record 20 million tonnes of rice and wheat in 2021.  

Safety nets: India has enacted the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013. In addition, there are the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), the Mid-Day meals (MDM), and the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS). These measures are going to provide safety net to billions of people in India 

How has India helped other countries?


India is providing humanitarian food assistance to the people of Afghanistan under the banner of the United Nations Food Programme. For example, recently, food assistance (in kind) was sent to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, through Pakistan via Amritsar’s Attari border. 

Africa and Middle East

In addition, in wake of Covid-19, India has given food aid to several countries in Africa and the Middle East/West Asia. For example, such assistance was sent to Yemen and Zimbabwe in the past.

What is the way forward?

Access to food helps in maintaining peace, as highlighted by the Nobel Peace Prize received by World Food Programme (WFP) in 2020. India must continue to address malnourishment and hunger by furthering access and inclusion via its policies and systems.

The developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America can also learn lessons from India’s journey from chronic food shortage to surplus food producer like land reforms, new regulatory systems, public support, and intervention in Agri markets and prices and Agri research.  

Source: The post is based on an article “India’s food response as ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” published in The Hindu on 31st March 22. 

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