GS2: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
Question 1: Agri-food systems need a transformative change for better production, nutrition, environment and life. Critically analyse.
Approach: Introduction- Current agriculture pattern in India- Associated Challenges- Way Forward.
The health of a country’s agri-food systems determines the health of its people. Findings from the first round of the 5th “National Family Health Survey” suggest that nutrition related indicators have worsened in most States. The survey covers 17 States and five Union Territories, which comprise 54% of India’s population.
Current agriculture pattern in India:
- The agri-food systems are the most important part of the Indian economy. The agri-food comprises all those activities related to the production, processing, distribution, sale, preparation and consumption of food.
- India produces sufficient food, feed and fibre to sustain about 18% of the world’s population (as of 2020). Agriculture contributes about 16.5% to India’s GDP and employs 42.3% of the workforce (2019-2020).
- Indian agriculture is facing unprecedented challenges related to economic and ecological sustainability, nutrition and the adoption of new agricultural technologies.
- The edifice of India’s bio security remains vulnerable to disasters and extreme events.
- The outdated and obsolete technology needs a change in order to improve productivity and minimise agri-losses.
- COVID-19 has increased hunger and nutrition deficiency problems in India owing to loss of jobs and logistical issues.
- Climate Change has challenged agri-cultural production itself.
- A shift in production can diversify the dietary pattern and ensure nutritional security. It can be ensured by improving dietary diversity, reducing post-harvest losses, kitchen gardens, making safety net programmes more nutrition-sensitive, women’s empowerment, enforcement of standards and regulations, improving water sanitation and hygiene, nutrition education, and effective use of digital technology
- There is an urgent need for reorientation of the long-term direction of agri-food systems to not only enhance farm incomes but also ensure better access to safe and nutritious foods.
- Additionally, the agri-food systems need to be reoriented to minimise cost on the environment and the climate.
- FAO’s support for the transformation of agri-food systems such as mainstreaming greening agriculture, promoting nutrition-sensitive agriculture, agrobiodiversity and strengthening national food security.
- FAO in collaboration with NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Agriculture convened a National Dialogue to evolve a framework for the transition to a more sustainable agri-food system by 2030 and identify pathways for enhancing farmer’s income and achieving nutritional security.
For Indians to eat better, India must sow better. India should aim for a food systems transformation, which can be inclusive and sustainable, ensuring growing farm incomes and nutritional security.
GS Paper – 2: Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India's Interests
Question 2: A sustainable refugee policy is a necessary step to intelligently manage population movements and ensure transparency and predictability in our administrative actions. Discuss.
Approach: Introduction- Refugees in India- Need for a Refugee Policy in India- Conclusion
Every year, millions of people are forced to abandon their homes in search of safer places to rebuild their lives. According to the UN, over 82.4 million people were forced to leave their homes in 2020 and more than 20 million of them are refugees. Over 200,000 of these refugees are currently in India.
Refugees in India:
- Article 51 of the Indian constitution states that the state shall endeavour to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organized people with one another.
- As per, the Foreigners Act, 1946, the central government has the right to deport any foreign national.
- Apart from that, India is also not a signatory to the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and the 1967 UN refugee Protocol.
- India also has the experience of rehabilitating Partition refugees as well as has taken part in 49 peacekeeping missions.
- However, still India does not have a national refugee framework.
Need for a Refugee Policy in India:
- Interventions on refugee assistance in India have largely depended on interim policies and administrative decisions
- A sustainable refugee policy is a necessary step to intelligently manage population movements and ensure transparency and predictability in our administrative actions.
- Treatment of refugees must receive the same attention that other human rights protection issues receive — this is consistent with the constitutional emphasis on the rule of law
- The legislation will also clarify the roles of different agencies — governmental, judicial, UN — involved in refugee protection and lay down the procedures of coordination amongst them. It would also help avoid friction between the host country and the country of origin
- By adopting refugee policy, other nations (like China) would recognize India’s move to grant asylum as a peaceful, humanitarian, and legal act. Such a move provides a platform for dialogue on sharing responsibility and the search for durable solutions to the root causes of the refugee
- Welcoming refugees generally implies an initial investment of public funds. Once refugees start working, this investment may harvest dividends. Refugees can fill gaps in the labour market or start trades that create wealth and help improve international trade and investment.
- India should utilize the present global refugee and economic crises as an opportunity to frame legislation immediately.
The current global refugee and economic crises present an opportunity for India to better calibrate its asylum management by enacting a national refugee law.