Dear Issue raiser Eileen,
I am Pradip Kumar Nath , CAS & DM, NIRD, Hyderabad.
It is the extent of information that comes suo-moto that determines the level of Food & Nutrition Security.
Not to speak of Rural India, even Urban India has immensely benefited from the mobile connectivity and the Social media by the Net connectivity.
It is the connectivity which has diversified the food baskets even in the poor households.
It is surprising to find the the so-called Chocolates - international brands like Cadbury which have entered the remotest part of India.
And during my Field study of different research projects , I happened to learn that the Adivasi (Scheduled casted as designated by the Constitution of INDIA) know well what the chocolates give to their body and in what way that can be used.
I have the privilege of having a cup of tea mixed with Cadbury chocolates in the absence of SUGAR & Milk, in a remote village near Gadiras in Sukma District of Chatisgarh - INDIA.
It is not a question of what is the knowledge base- but the choice of products which have increased manifold due to increased level of Information at the disposal of Common man.
Next comes the Major Trail blazing Acts like -- the present Food Security Act in INDIA & the erstwhile MGNREGS- the biggest ever Self Employment Programme ever taken up in such a massive scale by any Government in the world.
Yes, the MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) has brought about a sea change by pumping in a huge amount of money into the kitty of the Rural households in India.
Having equal wages to both man & women these wage wage-seekers have really been empowered to conquer the menace of Food & Nutrition Security.
Only big question will be how to ensure a sort of changes in food habits of Indians to switch over to a staple diet constituting items(food material) other than Rice & Wheat.
That is, how to go about a food package bereft of Rice & wheat.
It may not be possible to have self- sufficiency with Rice + Wheat combination as Staple diets.
Without adequately supplementing our dietary requirements with millets & other substitutes, it seems a gigantic task to go for self sufficiency ensuring food & Nutrition Security to a population of 1.23 billion.
The other is putting up the dietary packages with locally available seasonal fruits and the extensive increase in production of the same. Fruits like Mango, Banana, Papaya,Guava,Amla,Kedu, Jack Fruits, water Melons etc.
Pradip Kumar Nath,
Centre For Agrarian Studies & Disaster Mitigation, National Institute of Rural Development(NIRD),