Enforcing the Right to Food in India
Bottlenecks in Delivering the Expected Outcome
Over the past decade, a series of events in India have brought the question of food security into sharp focus. Vast famine-affected areas versus surplus production and stocks of grains, the impact of globalization and World Trade Organization laws on agriculture and farmers, the media’s spotlight on starvation deaths and, finally, the Supreme Court of India’s strong reaction to the plight of the hungry—all make a case for recognizing the right to food. This paper examines the situation prevailing in India and reviews the obligations and initiatives by the government of India to ensure food security. This paper mainly looks at the aspect of corruption as one of the reasons for the failure of the programmes meant for the poor, makes suggestions for addressing the issue and examines the possible role of civil society organizations in making the schemes workable for the poor. The vast number of people below the poverty line, and the failure of schemes meant for this group, clearly shows that India needs to wake up. The judiciary cannot monitor the implementation of the schemes forever. The government needs to review the policy periodically and take corrective measures for effective implementation of different schemes and programmes, establish mechanisms of accountability and ensure the right to food for all.