Democracy and the Right to Food
This chapter focuses on the right to food as one of the economic and social rights confirmed in the Directive Principles of State Policy. The chapter begins by describing the nutrition emergency in India. It specifically argues that the continuity of a severe nutrition crisis in India reflects the fact that Indian democracy is confined in a ‘vicious circle of exclusion and elitism’. Because unfortunate sections of the population are excluded from active participation in democratic politics, their aspirations and priorities are not reflected in public policy. The elitist orientation of public policy, in turn, continues the deprivations (poverty, hunger, illiteracy, discrimination) that disempower people and precludes them from participating in democratic politics. Examples of right to education and right to information are given. In addition, the chapter explains how recent experience with mid-day meals shows the potential roles of the right to food. The right to food is a slightly complex right that does not readily translate into well-defined entitlements and responsibilities.
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