According to the publishers of the book "Feeding India: Livelihoods, Entitlements and Capabilities", published by Taylor and Francis Books India Ltd, food security is one of the key global challenges and lessons from India having a particular significance worldwide.
This is because not only does India account for 25 percent of world's malnourished people, it provides a worrying case how rapid economic growth may not provide an assumed panacea to food security, they said.
Noting that "there has been unprecedented social protection" in India in the past decade, S. Parasuraman, director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) said: "Sixty-seven percent of the population is still vulnerable due to acute socio-economic and political inequities."
"There has been an inverse relation between economic growth and nutritional standards among poor Indians," said Parasuraman, one of the authors of the book.
Bill Pritchard, who teaches human geography at the University of Sydney and is a co-author, said he "supports the food security law but there is a need to look at other aspects of the issue as well".
"The nutrition agenda is important besides gender sensitivity when we talk of any food security. The public distribution system is a complex one and the impact of climate change needs to be studied," he said.
Development economist A.K. Shiva Kumar, a member of the National Advisory Council headed by UPA chaiperson Sonia Gandhi, launched the book.
He said the book explains how India's chronic food security problem is a function of a distinctive interaction of economic, political and environmental processes.
Agreeing there were problems in the delivery system, another author Madhusree Sekher, who works with TISS, pointed that around 40 percent of the food requirement of the poor comes from various social safety schemes.
University of Western Australia professor Anu Rammohan, who has contributed to the book, said: "Women's poor health in India is linked to malnutrition levels in the food-deficient communities."
All the authors agreed that lack of governance rather than right policies and funds, was a limiting factor behind the poor impact of social welfare schemes in India.
"Policies are not a problem. There is an acute governance deficit," said Parasuraman.
The solution, he said, lay in converging all the central welfare schemes to maximise outreach and impact.
The book is an outcome of collaborative research between TISS, the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia.
--IANS (Posted on 26-09-2013)