We will discuss India's G20 Presidency and Food Security in our today's edition of Current Affairs. Read further to upgrade your UPSC CSE knowledge and also understand the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.
Prelims Topics : Economy and IR
Group of Twenty (G20), Presidency of the G20, Matera Declaration, National Food Security Act, 2013, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana, Export Banning, Minimum Support Price (MSP).
About G20, Presidency of the G20, Workings of the G20, Significance of the G20 logo, Issues of Food Security, Global Initiatives to curb Deficit-Food.
Recently the Indian Prime Minister unveiled the logo, theme, and website of India’s G20 presidency, which offers India a historical opportunity to share its successful journey in moving from a food-deficit nation to a food-surplus nation.
India’s journey in the last 50 years provides learning on sustaining growth in foodgrain production and improving the food system. Explain the initiatives taken by the government in this regard and how the G20 presidency brings an opportunity for India. (15 Marks, 250 Words)
It was formed in 1999 in the backdrop of the financial crisis of the late 1990s that hit East Asia and Southeast Asia in particular.
The Group of Twenty (G20) countries include 60% of the world’s population, 80% of the global GDP, and 75% of global trade.
Aim: to secure global financial stability by involving middle-income countries.
Global and regional food security have been deliberated upon as one of the priority agendas of the G20 for many years now.
Its prominent members are Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US, and the EU.
Every year it invites guest countries, and Spain is invited as a permanent guest at G20 summits.
Presidency of the G20
It rotates every year among members.
The country holding the presidency, together with the previous and next presidency-holder, forms the ‘Troika’ to ensure the continuity of the G20 agenda.
Italy, Indonesia, and India are the Troika countries right now.
India will assume the presidency of G20 in December 2022 for a year, after Indonesia.
Workings of the G20
Every year an annual meeting of the finance ministers, the Sherpa meetings, and other events are also organized.
The agenda and work are coordinated by representatives of the G20 countries, known as ‘Sherpas’, that help in negotiations and building consensus.
Sherpas work together with the finance ministers and governors of the central banks.
Significance of the G20 Logo
The newly unveiled logo reflects the Indian ideology of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the whole Earth is a family), because of which India has always believed in global harmony.
The lotus flower symbolizes India’s Puranic heritage, it's Aastha(belief) and “boddhikta” (intellectualism).
Issues of Food Security
The situation of food deficit has worsened with growing conflicts, and spiraling climate crises marked by droughts, floods, cyclones, and economic downturns in the past few years.
The war in Ukraine and the restriction on the export of wheat have shown how dependent nations are on a single source of global food supply.
This vulnerability is linked with production being impacted by the changing weather and disruption in the availability of inputs.
Global Initiatives to Curb Food Deficit
G20 ministers through the Matera Declaration recognized that poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable food systems are key to ending hunger in 2021.
The Matera Declaration also emphasized keeping international food trade open and strengthening global, regional, and local diversified value chains for safe, fresh, and nutritious food, as well as promoting a science-based holistic One Health approach.
UN Food Systems Summit created a mechanism focused on five identified action tracks: Ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all; shift to sustainable consumption patterns; boost nature-positive production; advance equitable livelihoods, and build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks, and stress.
India’s Initiatives to Curb Food Deficit
The National Food Security Act, 2013: It is one of India’s greatest contributions to equity in food. It anchors the targeted public distribution system, the mid-day meal scheme, and the Integrated Child Development Services. Today, India’s food safety nets collectively reach over a billion people.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana: It has set a global example in alleviating hunger.
Pandemic Help: During the time of COVID-19 pandemic the government was able to provide a swift and resilient response, and avoid supply chain disruption and economic shock using its robust public distribution system.
Export Banning: In the face of climate change and a sudden decline in wheat harvest and rice production, India formally announced an export ban on wheat and rice. However, it maintained a flexible approach to help countries like Afghanistan with humanitarian aid and others such as Bangladesh, Egypt, and Yemen with commercial supplies, in collaboration with the respective governments.
Minimum Support Price (MSP): The Government of India has institutionalized buying grains from farmers and food stocks as strategic reserves for national food security. The minimum support price has encouraged farmers to produce and protects them from financial fluctuations. This process has protected people, especially the most vulnerable and poor, during difficult times.
The G20 brings an opportunity to fast-track the processes and commitments that were started through the pioneering UN Food Systems Summit, for global food systems transformation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The vulnerability visible in foodgrain production and supply or in the availability with regard to exports raises the growing demand for India’s wheat and rice.
Such measures, which are context-driven, are needed for managing the uncertainties that have become the new normal for ensuring food security for high-population countries and many other countries across the globe.
There is still a need for greater investment in agriculture; food safety nets for the poor and vulnerable; new ways of farming; and diversified livelihoods.
We need to expand south-south cooperation to share experiences on food and agriculture production and make expanded efforts to share India’s experiences for countries in Africa and Asia.
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