When every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, has the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for the procurement of food, that’s when the Right to food is realized. Everyone in this world has a right to a standard of living which is adequate food for himself and of his family. The right to adequate food as a human right was first formally recognized by the United Nations in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) from 1948, as a part of the right to a decent standard of living.
The primary responsibility for guaranteeing adequate food lies with the state and every individual has the right to be free from hunger. So many years after independence, the situation remains critical and has not been impacted due to the economic growth of the nation. What’s most astonishing that the social development sector lags behind than that of Sub-Saharan Africa. The government is trying to push the Food Security Bill through ordinance and it seems that every grain has vote inscripted on them. India has been pushing for greater efforts to arrest hunger and malnutrition in the country which is both affordable for the government and beneficial for long term sustainability of the Indian economy. However, it can be rightfully assumed that India cannot go on to become super power by the end of 21st century with a hungry and malnourished population.
Economists go on to say these schemes like MNREGA, Right to food are making this country unambitious and these kind of schemes make people unproductive since people will not develop their skills to earn a living in the market. One more concern is the fact India has a history of inefficient way of implementing food related schemes that there is no guarantee this will help improve the prevailing scenario. Government has to try and make the economy grow and also ensure fewer people remain poor. But the social inequality won’t come down with short term solutions rather needs long term economic models. There are needy people in the country but we can’t continue giving money or resources in perpetuity.
Right to Food Act of the Union government of India incorporates the physical, economic and social right of all the citizens of this nation to have access to safe and nutritious food, consistent with an adequate diet necessary for leading a life actively and with proper health by providing them with cereals at a modest cost each month. However, the recent news of 22 children dying because of poisonous Mid-day meal in Chappra, Bihar raises concerns about efficient implementation of this Act. There is an imbalance between this great vision and narrow means it seeks to achieve it in practice. For instance the main focus of this Act is on calories from foodgrains and on direct distribution rather than providing substantial provisions of means for commanding food and on complementary policies. The Act doesn’t clear that it’s truly right based as an individual may make binding demand for the satisfaction of the right.
It can be justified that all these acts like MNREGA, Right to Food; can be said successful when their demand goes down and nobody wants a MNREGA job as they have better paying jobs. Similarly in the case of Right to Food when people have adequate and quality food available to themselves and they don’t want any help from the government, but maybe that’s a long way ahead.