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title:An Analysis of India’s Right to Food Act: The Correlation of Hunger, Poverty and Female Literacy

Author:Anil Shetty, Shraddha Shetty

Keywords:India state hunger index – below poverty line – female literacy rate – poverty - hunger

Type:Original Article

Abstract:Background & Objectives: The Government of India has introduced the National food security act, which has been dubbed the world’s greatest welfare project, ever. The act uses poverty line indicators to identify the beneficiaries, and for implementation of the scheme, designates the eldest woman in the household as head of the family. This study was undertaken to determine if equating poverty with hunger is a fair and operable assumption and to ascertain if female literacy can have a bearing on the nutritional status of families and consequently positively impact food security. Methods: The study utilizes the ‘India State Hunger Index’, an adaptation of the ‘Global Hunger Index’ to compare the rankings of states on the index with their rankings on the below poverty line and female literacy charts. Results: There was a close correlation in rankings of states on the hunger index with their ranks on the below poverty and female literacy front, but with a few caveats. Poverty was not always synonymous with hunger and the relationship between hunger and the proportion of literate women in the state was complex. Conclusions: This study establishes that a stratagem of combatting hunger based on the provision of food grains to people below the poverty line is to a large extent, feasible. The empowering stipulation of the eldest woman as family head should benefit the cause of female literacy in the long run, however low levels of female literacy are generally prevalent in the hungrier states.

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