In India, the food situation is appalling: Nearly half of all Indian children are undernourished, half of all adult women are anaemic and more than one third have a body mass index which shows chronic energy deficiency. In international perspective, India is one of the most undernourished countries in the world.
However, when it comes to food grain production, India is very rich: India has become a food exporting country. India's food grains are at a constant high level and contain presently at least 30 million tons of food grains. In spite of existing government schemes to ensure people's access to food, the poor and deprived communities in India are continuously struggling for survival. The Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) for example stipulates that families identified as "below the poverty line" (BPL) get certain subsidised food items. Other schemes are supposed to provide support for the aged (National Old Age Pension Scheme), the poorest of the poor (Antyodaya Anna Yojana) or for school children (mid-day meal scheme).
As a result of the ongoing proceedings related to the public interest litigation of PUCL, the Indian Supreme court has issued various orders towards the implementation of different schemes providing food and work. Hunger and malnutrition in India is generated not due to lack of production or resources but due to lack of proper distribution of resources and assertion of rights. Already marginalized and vulnerable groups in the Indian society are increasingly losing their access and traditional rights to productive resources. They are becoming the victim of malnourishment and hunger. With increasing process of globalisation the invasion of global capital in India has resulted in further alienation of productive resources from the poor and has given birth to various conflicts.
In spite of the catastrophic food situation, chronic hunger is not a major topic in media or public debates. There is the urgent need to inform people and bring the issue to the national agenda. The objective of FIAN is to link up national campaigns with efforts by international civil society to generate a stronger commitment to the right to food and to develop positions and set the stage for a long-term lobbying effort towards the realisation of the right to food in India.(courtsey: FIAN Int)