Interventions: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security:
Advocacy...

National Consultation on Food Security Bill and Seeds Bill

10th June 2010
Issues of growing food insecurity amongst poor, constant rise in the number of malnourished children, and cases of hunger deaths—at the time when millions of tonnes of food grains are rotting in government godowns—  have caught the attention of CSOs and the policy makers over a period of time.  In this context, more than 50 key persons from across the country representing various farmer groups, women groups, civil society organizations, academicians, and policy makers came together at a National Consultation organized by Forum for Biotechnology & Food Security, New Delhi; CECOEDECON, Jaipur; and PAIRVI, New Delhi, at India International Centre, New Delhi on June 10, 2010 to discuss all the relevant issues in detail. The consultation made an effort to develop a new insight and innovative approach to address the issue of food insecurity in India. 

It was found that the present model of economic growth has  very little concerns for agriculture and farmers issues. The need of increasing support price and giving right kind of incentives to farmers, improving the present system of PDS, allocation of PDS shops to gram panchayats or SHGs and other such groups,  and fixing official and political accountability was identified in the consultation. 

 
Present form of the food security bill was also evaluated in the consultation and it was recommended that:
  • There is a need to look beyond PDS in ensuring food security. There are a number of experiences available on how it can be linked with local (village level) procurement, distribution and control, with key role for local communities including women.
  • PDS should not be scrapped but improved and strengthened. Whatever changes required should be brought in a very systematic way.
  • PDS entitlement should be as per ICMR levels and not at the present levels of 25/35 kgs.
  • Food security should not only be in the form of wheat and rice but locally produced coarse grains like millets, pulses and oilseeds should also be included.
  • There should be provision of right to choose the grain one wants to eat. Right to have safe food should also be incorporated. Food must be safe, nutritious and free of chemicals as well.
  • The bill should also address the situation arising after the natural calamities like floods, earthquakes etc when there is no food distribution at all. There should be some alternate mechanism to distribute food during difficult times.

 

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