India's proposed National Food Security Bill has the potential to become a benchmark for the rest of the world to follow, the NGO Oxfam India and UK-based Institute of Development Studies (IDS) has said.
The proposed Food Security Bill aims at providing legal entitlement over subsidised foodgrains to the poor. The bill
was introduced in Parliament in December 2011 and the same has been referred to the Standing Committee.
"India is taking the largest step toward food justice the world has ever seen through National Food Security Bill (NFSB). Although the bill alone won't fix India's food system, the world will be watching to see if it can provide a template for other countries to follow," IDS Director Lawrence Haddad said at the launch of the new IDS bulletin.
The step is largest because the bill covers about 70% of Indian households, highest proportion of households covered by such programme anywhere in the world, he said.
Haddad said the NFSB and other legal and judicial mechanisms will strengthen food security outcomes in India, though gains need to be maintained.
"There are plenty of stresses and strains that can erode gains. Food price rise, food price volatility and climate
changes are the ones that need to be addressed," he noted.
Oxfam India CEO Nisha Agrawal said there is a need to form new alliances to ensure food security to the poor and
marginalised in India.
"Despite enormous growth in economic and political power, 46% of Indian children are malnourished. One in three
of the world's hungry live in India," the Oxfam India said.
The new IDS bulletin, brought out jointly with Oxfam India, sheds light on various issues facing food security in
India by bringing together views of 21 thinkers including renowned agriculture scientists MS Swaminathan.