Food is not a luxury. It is a necessity for us. Without proper food and nutrients, our body will fail to perform its basic functions. In Africa, most of the population of the country suffers through malnutrition due to lack of food. In India, the situation is also no better.
Thousands of people die because of starvation and diseases caused due to lack of nutrition every single day. It is imperative to make sure that people don’t lose their lives because of lack of food, for every single person no matter what their financial standing or educational qualification, has the right to have a healthy, balanced diet.
India is such a diverse and overpopulated country. Taking the initiative to feed the billion plus mouths living in this country is a huge deal, and is not a very easy task to do either. The roadmap ahead might seem blurry and difficult to manage.
But we must due our due and press the government to do what can be done so as to achieve the goal of feeding the entire population of the country. Taking it up as a unified objective along with working simultaneously with governmental support and back-up, we can prevent more deaths from occurring due to lack of food.
Analysis of the underlying problems and methods to cope with lack of food
Mid day meal itself feeds a portion of the populace, the budding section of it. Also, with mid day meal, education reaches out to sow the seed of progress and financial stability; ensuring food for everyone in the future. However the benefit of free of cost mid day meals are not available in every institution.
Moreover, the quality of the food given to these children studying in governmental institutions and feeding of mid day meals is of very poor quality. Steps have to be taken up and enforced by the government, to ensure that only quality food reaches the children, so that they get all the essential nutrients required to have a healthy body.
23.6% of India’s population, roughly 276 million people don’t earn enough to feed themselves or family. India is a developing nation. Most of the population here is poverty-stricken and can barely make a living. There is a very high rate of unemployment in India as well. Therefore, most of India’s population don’t have the means to feed themselves or their family.
Dependence on international market for food has led to shortage of quality and affordable food. On the other hand, Indian cultivators sell food through middle men, which raises price. Resultantly, it is inevitable that people below poverty level can not afford food.
A product that has a cost of a few rupees almost doubles itself when bought from local stores due to these middlemen, who intervene in the economy. Due to these reasons, the food price shoots up and poor people of the country find it impossible to afford to feed themselves and their family on a daily basis, as they fail to earn enough money for the ration.
Next up, lack of safe drinking water is another major problem that the people of India faces every single day. Contaminated Water leads to almost 90% of food diseases. These range from minor ones like diarrhoea to critical ones like typhoid. Lack of safe drinking water has 2 effects. One is, health issues due to lack of it, and secondly health issues due to use of contaminated water.
This time of impure water carrying pathogens, which is consumed by such a large section of the population, leads to fatal diseases. The poor people due to lack of money can not afford to pay heavy medical bills so as to treat these diseases. Hence they die a painful death because of them. The situation is truly pitiful.
Diseases like tuberculosis, measles, etc. are directly related to malnutrition. It is crucial to provide food to save the populace from such detrimental conditions. Even diseases like AIDS have disastrous effect in case of malnutrition. And since, the main cause of malnutrition is lack of food, the problem is evident before us.
Conflict is another reason food becomes less accessible. Many tribes and remote locales are deprived of adequate food because of continuous conflicts. The reasons of such insecurity is the periodic conflicts between government forces and different types of terrorist outfits or rebellious camps.
These people are often not given access to food due to being in direct conflict against the government and hence suffer through severe lack of nourishment and nutrition, and even starvation in extreme cases.
With massive climate change, food production has suffered, leading to lack of food. A solution can be finding alternate sources of nutrition. Due to harm caused to the environment by man itself, resources that give up natural food products are coming to an end slowly and surely.
Due to deforestation and global warming , and other severe climatic changes, the forest cover is reducing. Forests are the abundant source of food for all living organisms, let alone human beings. Due to this reason the production of food has also decreased drastically, and lack of rain, severe droughts and dangerous floods have lead to destruction of food crops and caused severe famine in various areas of the country.
With changing job scope, seasonal migration is on decadence. Inversely, this has affected livelihood of the lowest rung. With loosing livelihood, food shortage has risen, alternate employment options must be explored for these poor segments. Lack of technical aid to develop production is another major impacting issue. Agricultural facilities require overhaul with massive up-gradation.
Political will to implement food for all has led to increase in malnutrition. Political parties have always filled personal coffers with developmental funds, inversely increasing the food shortage in rural and deprived areas. This has led to lack of food among the rural and deprived people of the country, which in turn makes up a very large portion on the country’s population.
Along with increase in production of food, checking rise in population is extremely crucial. Unless the latter is tamed, the former can not be adequate. Developing agricultural management is a good option to increase production, since this enables more systematic growth. Forming cooperatives in rural India to aid in food production growth can have immense positive impact.
India’s first 5 year plan to solve food shortage and achieve self sufficiency worked. There was much diminish in food shortage and malnutrition. However, with the success; government reduced exercising control on the food industry. As a result, the growth hot hampered over the following 5 year plans.
India ranks at 98th among 118 countries in global hunger index. Around one third of Indian babies are born underweight and suffer from minor or major malnutrition, a very alarming rate even if only developing nations are considered.
With agriculture providing around 67% employment, all it needs is government backing to develop the infrastructure and consequently its production rate. A slow economic degradation with minor but steadily increasing inflation has led to high price of food. This makes food unaffordable for many households in India.
Food shortage in India had already led to a situation in the 1960s when India had to depend on USA for shipments, under a controversial law known as Public Law 480. This constitutes approximately to around 47 million undernourished children.
However, good news is from 2006 to 2016, in 10 years; the malnutrition rate in children below 5 years has come down from 48% to 38%. However, this is still more than one third.
Ways to feed the billion plus population of India
- The government should reduce taxes levied on the very basic food products like rice, wheat flour etc.
- The government should keep a strict check on the quality of food provided in mid day meals.
- Water should be thoroughly purified before consumption and water filters should be cleaned from time to time.
- Initiatives should be taken to plant trees and increase forest cover as forests are the most important source of food for us.
- The middlemen of food manufacturing companies should be removed so that their incentives are cut off and food is sold at fair prices.
- We as responsible citizens of the country should not waste food as we should remember that there is a major chunk of population would kill to have the food that we throw away carelessly.
- We should lend food grains to NGOs and charitable organisations and also provide them with funding as per our means so that they can take initiatives of feeding the millions of hungry, homeless people and children in our country.