School of Agricultural Sciences & Technology of RIMT University, Mandi Gobindgarh (Punjab) celebrated World Food Day on 16th October by organizing a National Seminar on “Ensuring Food and Nutritional Security in India”. Topic of the Seminar fits well in this year’s theme of World Food Day i.e. Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World”. Nearly 140 scientists from 8 states of the country had registered for the Seminar.
An internationally renowned agricultural scientist and former Vice Chancellor of the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Dr Manjit Singh Kang delivered the keynote address as Chief Guest. Dr Kang highlighted the dismal state of nutritional security though the country has become self-sufficient in food grains. Around 15% of Indian population is undernourished, about 38 % of children are stunted and more than 51% women are anaemic. Nearly 47 million or 4 out of 10 children in India are not meeting their full human potential because of chronic under nutrition or stunting. According to Global Hunger Index, India ranked 103rd(tied with Nigeria) among 119 countries assessed in 2018. Among the neighboring countries, China ranked 25th, Nepal 72nd, Bangladesh 86th and Pakistan 106. Thus, India still has a long way to go to ensure nutritional security to masses. Government programmes exist, but the benefits of those programs are slow to reach the needy. Another speaker, Dr V K Dilawari emphasized the need for sustaining agricultural production to feed the burgeoning population.
Earlier Dr Gursharan Singh, convener of the Seminar explained the significance of holding such talks to evolve strategies to tackle the challenges of food and nutritional security in the country. While giving his presidential remarks, Dr B S Bhatia hoped that recommendations of the seminar will help the government to devise policies to face the challenges of nutritional security in the masses. The Seminar was organized in association with the Plantica Foundation of Dehradun.