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Social-Ecological Transformation | 

Can Hunger be Defeated? Advancing Food Security in South Asia

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When the National Food Security Act was introduced in 2013, the international media termed it the largest social welfare scheme in the world. Eight years earlier, in 2005, had implemented another massive social welfare scheme, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Overall there are nearly 70 centrally sponsored programmes supported financially by the Central Government and many others that are paid out of state and local budgets that aim to support and protect the most vulnerable people in rural India.

However, despite all of these social welfare schemes, ground realities in India speak an entirely different language. Close to a third of the population is living below the official poverty line, according to Government reports. Malnutrition and hunger persist in the country. According to a study from 2012, the child malnutrition rate in India was 42 per cent at the time. Unfortunately not much has changed since. India is still the country with the largest number of under-nourished children in the world. It is ironic that chronic malnutrition persists despite the fact that India is supposed to have achieved self-sufficiency in food grain production and has mostly been a net exporter of food, over the past few decades.

These contradictions form the backdrop to this book as we were inspired to take a closer look at ground realities in different parts of India, in search for answers. This combines ground reports as well as political analysis on Social Protection, Food Security and Food Sovereignty. We hope that putting together this book will be a step towards placing voices from the ground and policy analysis connected with Food Security and Food Sovereignty, at the same table. That in so doing, we invite dialogue, continue conversations and renew our collective commitment to research and activism on a subject that remains achingly relevant - involuntary hunger and its human cost.

Editor: Stefan Mentschel on behalf of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, South Asia Regional Office

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