Long road ahead to ending hunger, malnutrition
The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) incorporate zero hunger as one of the 17 targets to be achieved by 2030 for a sustainable future. The criticality of this goal lies in the fact that removing hunger -- and malnutrition -- from the world is intertwined with the other goals such as ending poverty, providing universal quality education and promoting lifelong learning, sustainable economic growth and employment, good health and well-being.
 
Any failure to achieve the zero hunger target by 2030 will result in the other SDGs not being fulfilled and impede social progress in the world.
 
Looking at the progress the world has made so far on eradicating hunger, there has been a global decline in the number of undernourished people from 900 million in 2000 to 775 million in 2013, rising to 777 million in 2015 and estimated to have increased to 815 million in 2016. This recent increase is largely due to the deterioration in the prevalence of undernourishment in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
 
According to the latest estimates of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the proportion of population that is undernourished in Sub-Saharan Africa increased from 20.8 per cent in 2015 to 22.7 per cent in 2016; and in Southeast Asia, it increased from 9.4 per cent in 2015 to 11.5 per cent in 2016. In terms of the number of undernourished people, Sub-Saharan Africa has 224 millione, accounting for 25 percent of 815 million undernourished population of the world. On the other side, Southeast Asia has nearly 74 million undernourished people, accounting for about 9 per cent of the total undernourished population of the world (FAO, 2017).
 
Other sub-regions of Asia, for instance, East and South Asia, together account for nearly 51 per cent of the total world population of the undernourished. While, owing to the large population size, there is a predominance of the undernourished people in these regions, the countries here have also shown an improvement in their food security status which has decreased the number of undernourished people from 178.4 million in 2010 to an estimate of 145.5 million in 2016 in East Asia, and from 271.4 million in 2010 to 266.8 million in 2016 in South Asia (FAO, 2017).
 
While strong economic growth and low and stable inflation have resulted in increased food security in East and South Asia, and has, consequently, led to a decline in the extent of undernourishment in these regions, factors such as climate-related supply shocks and conflicts and violence -- and sometimes a combination of the two phenomenon -- have affected regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, and have worsened the food security in these regions in recent years.
 
In Southeast Asia, since countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Mongolia, Timor-Leste and Vietnam suffered production losses in agriculture due to the poor weather conditions linked to the El Niño phenomenon, revamping the agriculture sector to make it less vulnerable to climatic extremities can minimise the food insecurity and prevalence of undernourishment. Currently, efforts are on in these countries to make the agriculture sector more climate resilient. However, the vulnerability of the sector to weather-related supply shocks needs to be addressed on a more urgent basis by scaling up programmes to mentor and educate farmers, improve water management systems, scale up research and development efforts on high-yielding crop varieties, and also develop food depots and storage facilities that can withstand typhoons.
 
Moreover, efforts should also be stepped up to bring in universal crop insurance and targeted safety nets. To implement these programmes, public and private investment in climate-smart technologies must be ensured, along with an enabling an institutional environment.
 
Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa which have been affected by adverse weather conditions linked to El Niño, along with the increased number of violent conflicts, face rising food insecurity from disrupted food production and, consequently, increasing levels of undernourishment of its people. The devastating effects of conflicts have been severe in countries such as Nigeria, South Sudan and Somalia, where 15.8 million people face severe food insecurity. In addition to the detrimental effect conflicts have on the severity of food insecurity, there is a growing concern in these countries on the conflicts which are triggered by the presence of food insecurity and malnutrition.
 
Though the target of zero hunger doesn't seem unachievable, there is a long road which leads to it. Addressing the concerns of distraught farmers affected by adverse weather conditions or by providing assistance to the population affected by conflicts, is very critical for achieving food and nutrition security. The returns on the investment in transforming the agricultural sector and in social protection systems is definitely greater than being trapped in the vicious circle of food insecurity and conflicts. While a strong economic growth potential is necessary for lowering the prevalence of undernourished in the East Asia and South Asia sub-regions, solutions for weather-related externalities and conflicts are also necessary for achieving zero hunger in the world.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Lok Sabha passes bill for stringent punishment in rape cases
A bill that provides for stringent punishment, including death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below 12 years, was passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday.
 
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed after a reply by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju. It will replace an ordinance brought by the government in April.
 
Rijiju said that the government should rise to the occasion when the nation feels pained by the incidents of rape on young girls.
 
"This is shameful for the country and pricks the collective conscience of the nation.
 
"New provision proposes that court where rape cases are being taken up should be presided by a woman judge. The statement in the rape cases should also be recorded by a woman police officer," he said.
 
Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai intervened in the middle and suggested the provisions of the amended law must be made available to the public in all regional languages and should be "publicised".
 
The minister agreed to execute his suggestions. He also spoke about the quality of investigation and how it should be improved and talked about the importance of fast-track courts.
 
He also said forensic kits should be made available in all police stations for better investigation and forensic laboratories are proposed to be set up in all states and union territories.
 
AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said: "Law cannot stop the rape of children and change the mentality of men. This is just symbolism and an eyewash."
 
The bill seeks to amend the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 to provide that the minimum punishment for rape of a woman under 16 years will be rigorous imprisonment for at least 20 years which can extend to life.
 
The punishment for gang-rape of a girl below 16 years will be imprisonment for the rest of life of the convict.
 
The punishment for rape of a woman aged under 12 years will be rigorous imprisonment of at least 20 years but may extend to imprisonment for life or death. Gang-rape of a girl under 12 years of age will lead to punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death.
 
The minimum punishment in case of rape of woman has been increased from seven years to 10 years, extendable to imprisonment for life.
 
Under the new legislation, there will a two-month time limit for completion of investigation of rape cases.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

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COMMENTS

Deepak Narain

4 months ago

This is a half-hearted legislation. It will not make much dent in the present situation. While the world is talking of marital rape, we are busy only in window-dressing. The punishment should be death within 30 days of the incident and the burden of proof should rest on the accused. He should prove his innocence.

Ill-conceived legislations and poor implementation is encouraging corruption says CWBF
The Indian government should look at all relevant issues in an integrated manner and adopt reforms that not only sub serve interests of some chosen corporates, individuals and political parties but also the interests of the public at large by promoting transparency and accountability, says Justice AP Shah in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
 
The letter sent by Justice Shah on behalf of the Citizens Whistle Blowers Forum (CWBF), talks of how ill-conceived legislations and their poor implementation are encouraging corruption. It talks specifically of proposed decriminalisation of the Companies Act, Whistle Blowers Act, and Right to Information (RTI) Act.
 
It also highlights how the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has not filed an appeal even after three years against the Sessions Court orders, which suspended the seven years jail term to Ramalinga Raju and Price Waterhouse auditors in the Satyam scam and how PwC is being given government contracts even when found embroiled in several scams.
 
In the letter, Justice Shah, who is also Chairman of CWBF says, "We wish to point out that any campaign against corruption can become effective only when there is a basic change in the mindset of the government in favour of greater transparency and accountability through civil society participation at all levels of decision taking, devolution of authority and decentralisation of governance, more importantly, strengthening of the democratic processes in every sphere of activity of the government. Bits and pieces of legislation without an overarching objective, we are afraid, will not deliver."
 
Other members of CWBF includes Prof Aruna Roy, former Finance Secretary EAS Sarma, Prof Jagdeep Chhokar, former Chief of Indian Navy Admiral L Ramdas, Sr Advocate Prashant Bhushan and former Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.  
 
Here is the letter sent by CWBF...
 
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