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Research Report

India’s peri-urban frontier:: rural-urban transformations and food security

Fiona Marshall
Pritpal Randhawa
Copyright Date: Mar. 1, 2017
Pages: 40
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 8-11)

    In 1947 after gaining independence, India initiated a development pathway based on industrialisation to achieve economic prosperity. The initial focus was on developing the manufacturing base, with central planning and protectionism. Industries such as iron and steel, oil refineries, cement and fertiliser became major public-sector enterprises in the 1950s, followed by coal mining in the 1970s. The development of small-scale industries was also heavily promoted from the 1970s onwards, on the premise that they would play a vital role in the economic progress of the country, had immense potential for employment generation, would promote decentralised industrial expansion and result in...

  2. (pp. 12-16)

    There is no apparent association between economic growth since 1990 and improvements in nutritional status of children under five years of age in India (Subramanyam et al., 2011). As per the official figures, India has managed to halve poverty rates from the 1990 levels.⁷ However, over 270 million Indians in 2012 still remained trapped in extreme poverty (UN-ESCAPE, 2015). Despite declines in poverty, as per the 2011 census report, 89 million children in the 0–3 age group were malnourished, with 35.6 million among them underweight (GOI, 2011a). India remains home to one quarter of the world’s undernourished population, over...

  3. (pp. 17-20)

    There have been numerous policies and schemes introduced with the purpose of ensuring ‘food security’ for the population.⁹ These policies have included public support for the production, marketing, storage and distribution of food with some emphasis on distribution to poor consumers and efforts to improve the nutritional status of children and women.

    In this section, we discuss some of these key schemes, particularly in terms of their degree of success in addressing food access and the nutritional needs of the poor in urban and urbanising environments.

    The evolution of public distribution of grains in India had its origin in the...

  4. (pp. 21-28)

    In the previous three sections of this paper, we have discussed challenges that India faces in relation to malnutrition, how these relate to rural-urban transformations, and the successes and failures of existing government schemes to improve access to food for the poor in urban and peri-urban contexts.

    Current efforts to address malnutrition in India appear to be somewhat decoupled from the pursuit of urban development trajectories and other key areas of policy and planning. In this section, we address one set of possibilities for constructive forms of integration across these agendas, based on greater attention to rural-urban transformations and dynamics...

  5. (pp. 29-30)

    We propose that the peri-urban interface – and its marginalised inhabitants – needs to be recognised as a key frontier in addressing the challenges of sustainable urbanisation, with nutritional improvements and wider dimensions of food security being central to this. Our discussion suggests a particular approach to developing transformative policies on food and nutrition that bridge the rural-urban divide in India. Agricultural land use must be fully and effectively incorporated into planning processes, and support for agrifood systems should be progressively integrated with urban environmental management, health, nutrition and poverty alleviation strategies.

    We have demonstrated how efforts to address serious...