OECD-UN report gives thumbs-up to India's NFSA

OECD-UN report gives thumbs-up to India's NFSA

New Delhi, Aug 08, 2014, DH News Service:

OECD-UN report gives thumbs-up to India's NFSA

A key OECD-UN joint report has given a thumbs up to India’s Food Security Act which, it said, can eradicate hunger from a vast majority of country’s poor but warned that lack of government preparedness on policy front can derail the largest right to food programme of its kind.

“While the National Food Security Act will transfer income to the poorest segment of the population, the procurement and distribution of 55 mt of subsidised cereals to more than 800 million people, will present major challenges,” said the OECD-FAO agricultural outlook 2014.

It said, the policy efforts of the government will remain significant to carry out such a large programme as the NFSA could absorb as much as 40 per cent of government expenditure.

The report devoted a full chapter on India titled ‘Feeding India: Prospects and challenges in the next decade’.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a United Nations agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. It serves both in developed and developing countries around the globe.

“The NFSA will require higher stocks for transaction purposes. Key uncertainty lies in India’s macro performance, productivity/yield growth and the viability of government programmes. Sustained high income growth is the most critical ingredient for realisation of the outcomes so is continued strong productivity growth, which, given the policy framework, will be the key to prevent higher domestic prices,” the report said.

“The key macro-economic challenge for India over the next decade is to create more productive jobs for its almost 500 million workforce – especially the 10-12 million annual youthful entrants. This is critical challenge since the agriculture sector still accounts for almost half of total employment and has been destroyed jobs as productivity is very low. Meanwhile, net job creation in manufacturing sector has slowed down,” it said.