New Delhi/Jaipur, September 16, 2010: India’s western state of Rajasthan is under the grip of severe food insecurity with 22 of its 32 districts being labeled as ‘most food insecure’ in the latest study by Institute for Human Development and World Food Programme.
Titled, Food Security Atlas of Rural Rajasthan, the report comes at a time when the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and WFP have stated that India, along with six other countries, is home to world’s two-thirds of undernourished.
Food security situation of the State was arrived at along the three axes of availability, access and absorption. A Food Security Index (FSI) was calculated on the basis of agricultural production, forest area, irrigation, rural connectivity in terms of access to paved roads, agricultural labourers, working age population, monthly per capita consumption expenditure, casual wage rate, female literacy, access to safe drinking water and primary health services.
The districts were also ranked on the basis of their performance in Food Security Outcome (FSO), which includes under-five mortality and number of underweight children.
Out of the 22 districts identified for priority intervention, 15 districts were common in both FSI and FSO index, five districts came under FSI while two came under FSO index. These districts have high under-five mortality as well as under-nutrition rates, apart from poor rankings under availability, access and absorption indicators.
The study suggests that by improving irrigation, agricultural productivity, rural connectivity, rural wages, distribution of land to scheduled castes and particularly women, the current situation of food insecurity can be impacted positively.
Among newer areas of policy focus, the study also identifies agricultural diversification and development of non-farm enterprises, and women’s empowerment.
Access to social security schemes like under the NREGA, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, PDS, ICDS, have been identified as critical lifeline for short-term food security for the most marginalised.
The Atlas was officially released in Jaipur on September 17 by Prof V S Vyas, Deputy Chairman, State Planning Board and Member, Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, and Ramiro Lopes da Silva, Deputy Executive Director, UNWFP, Rome. Sarita Singh, Secretary, Department of Women and Child Development, Rajasthan, Mihoko Tamamura, Country Director, WFP India, and lead coordinator of the report Dr Dev Nathan were present during the occasion.
Notes for Editors:
1. The Food Security Atlas of Rural Rajasthan is part of the series of eight Atlases produced by the Institute for Human Development (IHD) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
2. The purpose of the Atlas is to identify regions and districts within the state that require priority attention in order to improve their food security status. This is followed by an identification of the characteristics that differentiate the better-off from the worse-off districts.
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Institute for Human Development (www.ihdindia.org)
In its decade-old existence, the Institute has carried out research studies for prestigious international organisations like ILO, World Bank, IDRC, European Commission, IDS and UN bodies like UNDP, UNICEF, FAO, WFP, apart from various ministries under the Central and State governments.