The Policy Environment for Food, Agriculture and Nutrition in India: Taking Stock and Looking Forward

The Policy Environment for Food, Agriculture and Nutrition in India: Taking Stock and Looking Forward

India's policy environment has undergone a substantial overhaul since 2014, when a new government came in. This paper discusses recent changes in, and the current state of, food, agriculture and nutrition policies in India at the national and state levels. It provides an overview of the current policy framework, together with recommendations for the future, based on best practices in nutrition policy and the dynamics of the Indian economy and policy environment. The authors find that current strategies are focused more on malnutrition than on nutrition per se, with limited overlap with those in allied sectors such as agriculture and sanitation. The paper recommends that a new strategy takes a broader approach to nutrition, including pre-emptive behavioural change programmes, while ensuring quality and not just access to food in food security programmes, which should incorporate nutritional goals. Likewise, related policy areas, such as agriculture and sanitation, should include nutritional goals. To enable cross-sectoral and government collaboration on nutrition, high-level commitment is required to ensure coordination. Increasing devolution of authority and funds could empower state and district administrations to better tailor programmes to suit local contexts.

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