Right to Food

 

Viewed as a core component of the right to an adequate standard of living under Art. 11 IESCR, the right to food mandates that food be sufficiently available and accessible to people. This means that the availability of food in a quantity and quality is sufficient to satisfy the dietary needs of individuals, free from adverse substances, and acceptable within a given culture. States are required to “proactively engage in activities intended to strengthen people’s access to and utilization of resources” which includes food security and provide food or the means with which to access food when an individual or community “is unable, for reasons beyond their control, to enjoy the right to adequate food by the means at their disposal.”


For example, the Supreme Court of India has held that the right to food is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Right to Life. India has enacted numerous food schemes targeting below poverty line families, destitute women, children and the elderly. Through schemes such as the Public Distribution Scheme, food is distributed at highly discounted rate through a network of ration shops, varying for States and target groups. Comprehensive schemes are also in place to provide adequate nutrition for pregnant and lactating women (Janani Suraskha Yojana), children attending schools (Midday Meals Scheme), and pre-school programs (Integrated Child Development Scheme).


Similarly, Article 33 of the Interim Constitution of Nepal directs the State to “pursue the policy of establishing the rights of all citizens to education, health, housing, employment, and adequate food (h)”, “adopt universally accepted fundamental human rights (c)”, and “effectively implement international treaties and agreements of which Nepal is a party.” Article 18(3) of the Interim Constitution also guarantees to every citizen the right to food sovereignty. The Nepal Food Corporation (NFC) is mandated to distribute cereals at subsidized prices in food deficit areas and deliver emergency food relief to communities based on vulnerability, while government primary schools are bound to provide meals to pupils.


In Bangladesh, Article 15, fundamental principles of State policy and Article 32, right to life of the Constitution, read together with several Supreme Court judgments, recognizes the right to food as a fundamental right. To ensure that all strata of population have access to adequate food, and to improve consumption of food grains by specific target groups, the Government has developed a comprehensive Public Food Distribution System (PFDS) which provides for (i) price subsidies on food grains, and (ii) targeted income transfers programmes such as Food-for-Work (FFW), Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) and Food-for-Education (FFE).

 

Programs

Right to Adequate Housing

Right to Adequate Housing

Housing is a core component of the right to an adequate standard of living.  Read More.

Right to Food

Right to Food

It is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Right to Life, observes Supreme Court of India.  Read More.

Right to Health

Right to Health

State has to guarantee that the right to health is available, accessible and of high quality.  Read More.