Include eggs in nation’s food security programme, demand activists

People’s Budget Initiative says implementation of food security programme discouraging

By Jyotsna Singh
Published: Tuesday 20 January 2015

Photo courtesy projectjatropha.blogspot

Activists and nutrition experts have demanded the inclusion of eggs in the country’s food security programme in the run-up to the Union Budget 2015-16.  They have demanded a multi-sectoral approach to deal with malnutrition, which will require coordinated efforts of many ministries.

"Egg has high protein and fat, which is needed for children to fight low nutrition. It is also cost-effective, considering the amount of nutrition it provides," said Arun Gupta, regional coordinator of International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN)-Asia. He said eggs are easy to store and can be prepared with better hygiene.

It is one of the main demands listed in document, “Policy Asks and Expectations from Union Budget 2015-16”, prepared by Indian civil society organisation, People's Budget Initiative. The document emphasises that ministries of water, sanitation, health and agriculture should come together to meet the demands of nutrition of the entire population.

It says that though commitment of providing food to 67 per cent of population through National Food Security Act, 2013 is a welcome step, efforts towards it are not encouraging. Activists have been demanding that apart from 5 kg foodgrain per person per month, food security programme should also include pulses and edible oil in the food basket.

The estimated annual food subsidy for implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013 was about Rs 1,31,066 crore for 2014-15. However, the Union Budget allocation was Rs 1,15,000 crore. This amount will have to be enhanced if 5.25 kg of pulses and 2.28 kg of edible oil per family per month is added to the food basket.

Demands relating to food and nutrition security

  • Ensure immediate roll out of National Food Security Act, 2013 in totality
  • Community kitchens serving inexpensive and nutritious food must be set up in urban areas
  • Budget for grievance redressal mechanism should be enhanced
  • Foodgrains procurement, storage and distribution should be decentralised
  • Institute a starvation and malnutrition code for keeping an eye on adverse impacts of hunger and malnutrition

Nutrition-sensitive interventions and programmes: how can they help to accelerate progress in improving maternal and child nutrition?

Social protection for food security: a report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition

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