1. Agriculture World

India’s Food Security Approach & Innovations Praised in WTO Seminar on Food Security

S. Jagannathan recently explained the successful strategies adopted by the Government of India for ensuring the Availability, Affordability, and Accessibility of both normal and free food grains at all times, as India's food security response to the COVID-19 crisis has been hailed as a shining example for its unparalleled speed, scale & transparency, and rightful targeting.

Shivam Dwivedi
S. Jagannathan, Joint Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution (second from right) making a presentation on India's food security interventions at WTO High Level Seminar on Food Security, Geneva
S. Jagannathan, Joint Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution (second from right) making a presentation on India's food security interventions at WTO High Level Seminar on Food Security, Geneva

Participants at the WTO seminar from around the world praised India's food security approach and innovations, which reflect the Government of India's concern and sensitivity towards poor and vulnerable sections of society. On April 26, 2022, the WTO held a high-level seminar on food security in Geneva to facilitate dialogue on trade and food security among Geneva-based trade officials, policymakers, experts from international organizations and think tanks, and others.

Jagannathan, Joint Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, who represented India at the WTO Seminar, emphasized India's outstanding experience in successfully ensuring dignified and foolproof access to adequate food grains to the country's most vulnerable people, particularly during COVID, through a series of bold technology-based reforms and landmark innovations in the Public Distribution System.

In the panel on 'National and Regional Experiences' at the WTO high-level seminar, he gave a detailed presentation on the Indian perspective. He also emphasized the government's efforts to foster inter-departmental data sharing in order to broaden the reach of large-scale citizen-centric government programmes across the country.

Jagannathan recently explained the successful strategies adopted by the Government of India for ensuring the Availability, Affordability, and Accessibility of both normal and free food grains at all times, as India's food security response to the COVID-19 crisis has been hailed as a shining example for its unparalleled speed, scale & transparency, and rightful targeting.

He emphasized the critical role of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) in ensuring additional food security for approximately 800 million people.

He emphasized the critical role of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) in ensuring additional food security for the country's 800 million beneficiaries during the COVID period, and how the scheme continues to cushion them against supply shocks and rising inflation during the recovery period, with an additional food subsidy outlay of nearly USD 45 billion in addition to the regular food subsidy of nearly USD 22 billion.

Furthermore, he emphasized how India's food security measures in the PDS, ICDS, and PM Poshan, as well as the PMGKAY, directly contribute to the achievement of some of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the fields of Women and Child Nutrition, Health, Education, and Food Security, which are also foundational indicators of Human Development.

He emphasized the historic technology-based innovation One Nation One Ration Card Plan, which allows all NFSA beneficiaries, particularly migrant beneficiaries, to claim either full or partial foodgrains from any of the country's 0.5 million Fair Price Shops (FPS) in a seamless manner using an existing ration card with biometric/Aadhaar authentication.

The system also allows their family members back home, if any, to claim the ration card's remaining food grains.

Because of the rapid implementation of ONORC during COVID, beneficiaries have been able to access nearly USD 5 billion in food subsidies through nearly 580 million portable transactions and around 650 million portable transactions since the program's inception.

The Seminar shared and discussed national experiences from various countries and world regions, with a focus on the relationship between trade and the multiple dimensions of food security, including access, availability, stability, and use, in light of current and future challenges.

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