The government said India is on its way towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it is reaching out to over 81 crore poor people with subsidised grains via ration shops, reducing farm wastage and promoting eating nutritious food. The government’s top officials echoed this message at a pre-event organised by industry body CII in support of the ‘UN Food Systems Summit’ to be held in 2021.
Highlighting steps taken so far, Food Secretary Sudanshu Pandey said India is implementing the world’s largest food programme under which subsidised grains are being distributed to over 81 crore poor via ration shops. The government is bearing a food bill of around Rs 1 lakh crore annually.
For better targeting of the poor, the government is digitising ration cards by linking them with Aadhaar biometric IDs and working on ration card portability initiative ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ to ensure no one is deprived of the benefits when moving out to other locations for work.
Now, the government is working on ensuring nutritional support along with food security of the poor for which it has rolled out a pilot for distribution of fortified rice via ration shops and other welfare schemes, he added.
To reduce food wastage in a country which produces more but has less calorie intake for the poor, Food Processing Industries Secretary Pushpa Subrahmanyam said the government has rolled out a new scheme to support micro food enterprises which comprise 95 per cent of India’s food industry.
The government has further commissioned a study to ascertain the extent of food wastage in 50 agro-climatic zones in the country. The result of the study is expected in the first quarter of next year.