New Delhi, Nov.2 (ANI): The Central Government is drafting a new law that will guarantee food security to a majority of the population, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Tuesday.
Addressing party delegates attending a daylong session of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) at the Talkatora Stadium here, Gandhi said that a new food security law would create a more efficient and effective public distribution system.
"All this will, hopefully ensure an end to malnutrition, which is, as we know, unacceptably high," she said.
Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation.
According to FAO, as per 2003 figures, worldwide around 852 million people are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty, while up to two billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degrees of poverty. Six million children die of hunger every year, which means 17,000 every day.
According to an editorial in The Hindu, the state of India's food security is worsening by the year.
The cost of food items is increasing rapidly, making them unaffordable to a majority of the people. Added to these woes is the short supply of pulses and edible oils, which forces the Central Government to import them.
Pulses play a critical role in the diet of the people of India, where large sections are vegetarians. Protein plays a key role in the human diet. It is the bodybuilding nutrient that develops muscles and is responsible for body strength, endurance and productivity at the workplace.
It is established that a human body requires a daily intake of about 50 gm of protein. While people in the developed countries and most of the developing countries have a satisfactory intake of protein, in India the per capita daily intake is only about 10 gm. This endangers health and work performance.
Proteins are amino acids. Out of the 22 amino acids required in the human diet, the body supplies 14. The remaining eight have to come from food. If all the eight amino acids are present in a single food item, it is called a complete protein food.
The editorial further states that the underlying problem of Indian agriculture that threatens food security is extremely low productivity.
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, has said that he would study the recommendations made by the National Advisory Council (NAC) on the issue of food security.
"Those recommendations have to be taken seriously. Therefore, our government will apply itself seriously to evaluate those recommendations," he added.
Last week, it may be recalled that the Congress President Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) had recommended food security cover for roughly eighty crore people in the country through Public Distribution System network.
It suggested the implementation of the first phase of the proposed food security legislation from the beginning of next financial year and covering the entire country by 2014.
The recommendations were finalized at the sixth meeting of the Council held in New Delhi. (ANI)