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Science & Technology » Agriculture Share

Make provisions of Food Security Act universal: Swaminathan

Make provisions of Food Security Act universal: Swaminathan
Agricultural Scientist Dr M S Swaminathan

By CNR Vijaykumar Tirupathi, Jan 6 (UNI) Speakers at the 104th Indian Science Congress here today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi Government to rework the provisions of the Food Security Act relating to providing food grains through the Public Distribution System (PDS) as against the targeted people being the beneficiaries.
Speaking at the Plenary session on 'Food and Nutrition Security', speakers spearheaded by eminent Agricultural Scientist Dr M S Swaminathan, said though the Food security legislation was a welcome step as it had transformed mere provisions under different schemes and programmes into legal entitlements, its limitations included targeted approach and ensuring food security without ensuring nutrition security.
Some of the laudable measures included women empowerment, maternity benefit and food security allowance.
Dr R Rukmani of the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation expressed that according to the latest global hunger index, India was ranked 97th out of 118 countries and was behind its neighbours Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
She said farmers were the largest producers and consumers of food and by enabling them to adopt a farming system that is nutrition sensitive, farm families could be made leaders of anti-malnutrition movement.
She said a sizeable percentage of population was under nourished and according to 2013-14 statistics nearly 38.
7 per cent of the children suffer from stunted growth with 18.
6 per cent having low birth weight.
Dr Swaminathan who set the trend for the session stated that the country should give a focused attention on increasing the nutritional levels.
Besides cereals, the government should also popularise nutrient foodgrains such as millets, which the Britishers had dubbed as coarse grains.
Right kind of public policies should be put in place, he added Speaking about the rampant prevalence of hidden hunger in the country in the form of malnutritional and under-nutritional levels, Dr Swaminathan said the government need to step up its efforts to enhance the nutritional levels.
People need to be educated to take up crops with nutritional value also and suggested setting up of nutritional foodparks in various parts of the country and highlight the farmers about their importance.
Nutritional literacy should be spread.
He also spoke about the newly evolved bio-fortified crops such as sweet potato with yellow flesh and said the country should have its own kind of gene harmonisation.
He said there should be curative diversity in our food security to enable people part take those food and vetetables that have medicinal value too and prevent various ailments.
Expressing concern over the increasing number of farmers suicides, Dr Swaminathan said that though such suicides had been reported for various reasons, including failure of crops and non payment of farm credit, the Gram Panchayats should make active interventions He said during the 1942-43 Bengal famine the world had written off India and predicted doomsday for the country.
However, the Government took corrective and technological steps to bring about the green revolution and falsified the westerners.
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