The Right to Food Debates: Social Protection for Food Security in India
Harsh Mander, Ashwin Parulkar and Ankita Aggarwal
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

State food provisioning in India had been regarded as an instrument of social policy since independence. In 2001, however, following a series of starvation deaths in several states, a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court served as the catalyst for extensive debates regarding the recognition of the right to food as a basic right in India.

This process resulted in the passage of the National Food Security Act in 2013. The Right to Food Debates lays out the principal arguments offered in the years leading up to the final act by academics, policymakers and government officials, and prominent civil society groups such as the Right to Food Campaign.

Each chapter in the volume concerns a major debate relevant to the food security bill. They also include extensive discussions of the draft bill formulated in 2011 by the National Advisory Council, a body of experts that advised the then government on social policies and the rights of disadvantaged groups.

A rigorous presentation  on debates surrounding whether and how to legislate  access to food,, this volume will be of interest to scholars and researchers in development studies, NGOs, and research organisations in India and other developing countries.

Harsh Mander is Director, Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi.

Ashwin Parulkar is Senior Researcher, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

Ankita Aggarwal is Coordinator, the Right to Food Campaign, New Delhi.

List of Tables
List of Abbreviations


Introduction: State Food Provisioning as Social Protection in India

Part I: Concepts, Definitions, Scope, and the International Context

1. The Duty of the State to Provision Food as Social Protection
2. Coverage of the National Food Security Bill
3. Scope of the National Food Security Bill

Part II: Universalism or Targeting, Food or Cash Transfers, and Conditionalities

4. Universal or Targeted Entitlements
5. Selection for Targeted Entitlements
6. Conditionalities
7. Cash transfers or Transfers in Kind

Part III: Food Entitlements and Special Groups

8. Ways by Which States can Ensure Food Security
9. Starvation
10. Children
11. Malnutrition
12. Cooked Food versus Ready-to-eat Meals and Commercial Interests
13. Gender-Just Food Entitlements
14. Vulnerable Groups
15. Reforming Delivery

Part IV: Enforcement and Transparency Systems

16. Enforcement and Grievance Redressal
17. Victim Support
18. Fines, Penalties and Compensation
19. Accountability and Transparency
20. Duty Bearers
21. Financing the Right to Food


Notes on the Contributors

1. The Right to Food Debates: Social Protection for Food Security in India | Geography and You, Fortnightly, New Delhi, 16-31 December 2018
2. The Right to Food Debates: Social Protection for Food Security in India | Artha Vijnana, 02 June 2019
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