QUESTION : “Dispute between India Nepal is a result of historical errors” how much would it be correct to say this ? Discuss with suggested remedies.
THINKING THROUGH THE NEPAL POLICY
India-Nepal Bilateral Ties
WHY IN NEWS ?
- Recently, Nepal Prime Minister made a friendly gesture towards India by making a call to his Indian counterpart to convey greetings on India’s Independence Day.
- In a time when India-Nepal relations are going through a bad phase, India should do everything to nurture the Nepali people’s goodwill, while rejecting Nepal’s ill-conceived territorial claims simultaneously.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN INDO-NEPAL RELATIONS :
- A series of unilateral actions by Nepal:
o A relatively minor dispute involving territory around the Kalapani springs, was expanded to claim a large part of Indian territory towards the east.
o This was followed by a constitutional amendment and a revised official map by the Nepali government.
- Conflict over boundaries:
o The Treaty of Sugauli of 1816 sets the Kali river as the boundary between the two countries in the western sector. There was no map attached to the treaty.
o New claims by Nepal: That the main tributary of the Kalapani river rises east of the Lipu Lekh, passing from the Limpiyadhura ridgeline and hence should serve as the border.
China’s take on India-Nepal border:
- Lipu Lekh – in Indian territory: Chinese, at least since 1954, have accepted Lipu Lekh Pass as being in Indian territory.
- The Nepal-China boundary agreement of 1960: the starting point of the boundary is clearly designated at a point just west of the Tinker Pass.
HISTORICAL TIES :
- Nepal is an important neighbour of India and occupies special significance in its foreign policy because of the geographic, historical, cultural and economic linkages/ties that span centuries.
- India and Nepal share similar ties in terms of Hinduism and Buddhism with Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini located in present day Nepal.
- The two countries not only share an open border and unhindered movement of people, but they also have close bonds through marriages and familial ties, popularly known as Roti-Beti ka Rishta.
- The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations that exist between India and Nepal.
TRADE AND BUSINESSES :
- India is Nepal’s largest trade partner as well as the largest source of foreign investments.
- India also provides transit for almost the entire third-country trade of Nepal. Nepal uses Kolkata port for its sea trade.
- Indian companies also engage in various economic activities in Nepal. There is Indian presence in their manufacturing, power, tourism and service sector.
DEVELOPMENT AID AND ASSISTANCE :
- India gives financial and technical aid to Nepal’s developmental activities.
- The focus areas include grass-root infrastructure, health and education, water resources and rural development.
- The biggest disadvantages of Nepal are that it is landlocked and has difficult terrain. It is difficult for it to create connectivity towards the north (Tibet) due to the lofty Himalayas.
- In this context, India plays a crucial part, being the gateway of Nepal to the world with open borders and connectivity initiatives enhancing people-to-people contact and economic growth and development.
- Linking Sagarmatha and Sagar – developing inland waterways to enhance the movement of Cargo and provide access to the sea.
- Developing railway connectivity – to link Kathmandu and Raxaul (Bihar).
CULTURAL TIES :
- Hinduism and Buddhism have served India’s soft power in Nepal. Lumbini is part of the Buddhist circuit being developed.
- India has sister city agreements with Nepal
- Apart from these initiatives promote people-to-people linkages in the area of art & culture, academics and media with different local bodies of Nepal.
DEFENCE TIES :
- India trains and equips the Nepalese Army and assist in its development in modern lines.
- According to the 1950 friendship treaty, Nepal can buy arms from India.
- The joint military exercise of India with Nepal is known as Surya Kiran.
- The Gorkha Regiments of the Indian Army are raised partly by recruitment from hill districts of Nepal.
DISASTER MANAGEMENT :
- Nepal is frequently prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and avalanches, cloudbursts and flash floods. This is mainly due to geographical factors that Nepal lies in a fragile zone (Himalayas – suture line of Indo-Australian and Eurasian plates).
- India provides assistance both in terms of personnel aid, technical aid and humanitarian assistance in such instances.
MULTILATERAL TIES :
- India and Nepal share space on several multilateral forums such as BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) NAM, and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) etc.
- Internal Security is a major concern for India; Indo-Nepal border is virtually open and lightly policed which is exploited by terrorist outfits and insurgent groups from North Eastern part of India eg. supply of trained cadres, fake Indian currency.
- Overtime trust deficit has widened between India-Nepal because of the Indian reputation for delaying implementation of various projects.
- Nepal over the years has witnessed chronic political instability, including a 10-year violent insurgency, damaging Nepal’s development and economy.
- There is anti-India feeling among certain ethnic groups in Nepal which emanates from the perception that India indulges too much in Nepal and tinkers with their political sovereignty.
- The establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and China and its growing influence in Nepal has resulted in declining traditional leverage of India in Nepal.
WAY FORWARD :
- Nepal is strategically and economically important for India. Hence, India should strengthen its ties with Nepal. Various issues should be sorted out amicably and the 1950 agreement should be renewed considering Nepalese interests. The open border should be managed so that it does not affect the safety and security of both nations.
- India should effectively use its soft power to enhance its cultural ties and people-to-people contact.
- India should commit itself to complete infrastructure projects without delay. There is huge untapped hydropower potential in the Himalayan river system originating in Nepal. India should focus on it too.
- Apart from this, India should evolve a narrative to change the perception of playing a Big brother and allay Nepal’s insecurities of its interfering with Nepal’s internal affairs.
QUESTION : Discuss the various dimensions of food security, highlighting its linkages with agriculture, nutrition and health
Topic- MORE EVIDENCE OF INDIA’S FOOD INSECURITY
- Status Of Food Security In India
WHY IN NEWS ?
- Data from the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report show that India is the country with the largest population of food insecure people. The report released by several United Nations organisations show that the prevalence of food insecurity increased by 3.8% points or 6.2 crore more people in India between 2014 and 2019.
AUTHORITATIVE INDICATORS :
- The annual SOFI report presents the most authoritative evaluation of hunger and food insecurity in the world.
- SOFI presents two key measures of food insecurity:
Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU) and Prevalence of Moderate and Severe Food Insecurity (PMSFI).
- Both of these are globally-accepted indicators of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Target 2.1 to end hunger and food insecurity.
- Prevalence of Undernourishment:
- PoU is focused on estimating proportion of population facing chronic deficiency of calories.
- Estimates of PoU are based on food balance sheets and national surveys of consumption.
- Given that consumption surveys are done infrequently in most countries, these estimates are often based on outdated data and are revised when better data become available.
- Prevalence of Moderate and Severe Food Insecurity:
- PMSFI is a more comprehensive measure of the lack of access to adequate and nutritious food.
- It is based on annual surveys that collect information on experiences of food insecurity (such as food shortages, skipping meals, and changing diet diversity because of a lack of resources).
- It uses Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), a gold standard in food security measurement developed by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), for estimating globally-comparable prevalence rates.
- However, govt. of India neither conducts official FIES surveys nor accepts estimates based on FAO-GWP (Gallup World Poll) surveys.
- Consequently, the estimates of PMSFI for India are not published in SOFI.
COUNTRY DATA :
- These estimates show that 7.8% of India’s population suffered from moderate or severe food insecurity in 2014-16, the proportion rose to 31.6% in 2017-19.
- The number of food insecure people grew from 42.65 crore in 2014-16 to 48.86 crore in 2017-19.
- India accounted for the highest global burden of food insecurity at 22% in 2017-19.
- PMSFI fell by 0.5 % points in the rest of South Asia, but it increased in India by 3.7% points during 2017- 19.
NATIONAL FOOD INSECURITY ACT ,2013
To provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices.
KEY FEATURES :
- Provides statutory backing for right to food.
- Up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population will be covered under TPDS, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month. Entitlement of existing AAY households protected at 35 kg per household per month.
- Food grains under TPDS made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains for a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act. Thereafter prices to be linked to Minimum Support Price (MSP).
- Pregnant women and lactating mothers are entitled to a nutritious “take home ration” of 600 Calories and a maternity benefit of at least Rs 6,000 for six months.
- Children 6 to 14 years of age are to receive free hot meals or “take home rations”.
- In case of non-supply of entitled food grains or meals, the beneficiaries will receive food security allowance.
- Appoints district grievance redressal officers; establishes State Food Commissions; and vigilance committees at state, district, block and ration shop levels
DIMENSIONS OF FOOD SECURITY :
- Availability of food: Self-sufficiency in the production of food is a crucial aspect of sustainable availability of food.
- With the great accomplishment of Indian farmers and policymakers, due to the Green Revolution, today India has become self-sufficient in food production.
- This has converted a ship to mouth situation (where India had to rely on the United States for food supply under Public Law 480 (PL-480)) to a “right to food” commitment.
- Access to food: It largely depends on the purchasing power of the consumer. However, through NFSA and the PDS, the government assures the food requirement of the poor section of society.
- Absorption of food in the body or its utilisation: It depends on sanitation, drinking water and other socio-economic aspects of a household, determined by knowledge and habits.
- The utilisation of these services is dependent on the capacities of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI’s) and their coordination with other local bodies.
- Stability: Apart from above-mentioned dimensions of food security, the temporal dimension of food and nutrition security, is also very important.
- India has not released the latest National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) consumption expenditure survey data for 2017-18.
- As a result, conventional measures of poverty and food consumption are not available for recent years.
- Because of a lack of regular availability of consumption survey data, the FAO uses supply-wise data on per capita food availability to measure changes in average per capita calorie intake.
- The approach has become untenable for India because of a large and growing disparity between supply-side data and data from the consumption surveys.
- While the per capita dietary energy supply in India increased by 3.8% between 2011-13 and 2015-17, the leaked consumption survey data showed that average consumption expenditure (covering food and other expenses) fell by 3.7% between 2011-12 and 2017-18.
CAUSES OF SUFFERING :
- The significant rise in food insecurity is a clear indicator of the overall economic distress marked by a deepening agrarian crisis, falling investments across sectors and shrinking employment opportunities.
- As per the latest Periodic Labour Force Survey data the unemployment rates in the recent years have been higher than in last four decades.
- It is widely believed that demonetisation and introduction of the Goods and Services Tax were two prime causes of economic distress during this period.
- A sudden imposition of an unprecedented and prolonged lockdown has brought renewed focus on the problems of hunger and food insecurity.
- With a sudden loss of livelihoods, a vast majority of India’s poor are faced with increased food insecurity, hunger and starvation.
GOVERNMENT’S INITIATIVES :
- The Public Distribution System (PDS).
- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).
- The National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education, also known as “Mid-Day Meal Scheme”.
- The Integrate Child Development Services (ICDS).
- Annapurna Scheme.
- The National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS).
- The National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS).
- The National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS).
- It is critical for India to conduct a National Survey on food insecurity to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security of different sections of the population.
- A transparent survey is needed to gauge the real situation of food insecurity and then implement measures to tackle it at the earliest.
WAY FORWARD :
- Programmes and policies in India should enable farmers to adopt climate-smart practices that could generate economic rural growth and ensure food security.
- increased emphasis on indirect interventions for example access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
- Policies must deliver universal, rights-based nutrition services, which overcome disparities across gender, communities and geographical regions.
- Long-term relief measures in the event of natural disasters.
- Fortification of food, bio fortification of plant/crops to combat micronutrient deficiency.
- Ensure effective hunger eradication, an integrated and a coordinated approach to the implementation of the public programmes.
- Enhance livelihood security