Perspective | Check food wastage, set up community kitchens to achieve food security

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]OOD security for all is the most challenging crisis facing India which is the second largest populated country in the world next to China.

Though Article 21 of the Constitution lists ‘Right to Food’ as a fundamental right of the citizens, an alarming number of people do not get even two squares meal a day. It is not that the country produces less food and lacks in financial resources. The country just wastes food. According to the 2017 CSR Journal, India wastes food equal to what the entire population of  United Kingdom consumes!

It is a sheer case of mismanagement that a lot of food gets wasted, which could have been fairly distributed among the needy.

Though lakhs of crores are allocated for the ministries of Food & Public Distribution, Consumer Affairs and for various welfare schemes to prevent hunger, malnutrition and starvation millions of people go hungry and malnourished.

There could be many reasons for this including grave lapses in implementation of various schemes. Moot point is if the laws and plans are just there on the paper and not meant to be implemented.

According to the 2018 Global Hunger Index, India ranked at 103 out of 119 countries. The FAO Report for 2018 pointed that of the 821 million undernourished people in the world, India accounts for 195.9 million. Simply speaking, one out of four hungry persons in the world live in India.  As many 19 crore people go to sleep on an empty stomach and approximately 4500 children die of hunger every day.

The number of undernourished people in India are 14.8 per cent higher than both the global and Asian average. There are over 1.77 million homeless people in the Country.

Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha have been successfully running State-funded community kitchens to combat hunger and malnutrition by providing nutritious food at subsidized rates to the poor. These community kitchens also provide employment to those engaged in preparing and distributing food.

While the rest of the states must also take a cue from these states, the private companies are also required to be held socially accountable. Under the Article 51 A of the Constitution along with Schedule VII and Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, companies may be directed to fund community kitchens to fulfil their corporate social responsibility.

Such a measure would help to some extend in achieving food security for all.