As a state party to universal declaration of human rights and the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, India has the obligation to ensure the right to be free from hunger and the right to adequate food, but despite this the most promising right is to ensure the people all possible and feasible conditions by which they are able to enjoy the above-mentioned rights and that is only possible if the right to health comes before the right to food. In order to give it a practical form certain determinant includes sanitation, clean drinking water, clean air and much more. So a proper analysis must be followed by which the fundamentals are called upon so that the right to food is automatically served.
Determinants of right to health
As far as the right to health is concerned it is not only extended upto timely and appropriate health care but also to the determinants of health such as:
- Access to safe and potable water
- An adequate supply of safe food
- Nutrition and housing
- Healthy occupational and environmental conditions
- Access to health-related education and information including on sexual and reproductive health
Challenges to right to health
When it comes to the challenges faced by the government with regard to the fulfillment of the above-mentioned determinants certain challenges like the non-availability of the doctors, as in India one doctor is available for every thousand people. Also, the condition of primary health care is deplorable. There are no enough doctors and hospitals to cater to the needs of rural populace. The government should focus on building institutions, bringing about bachelor of rural health care, so that the people there do not have to approach the tertiary healthcare for every ailment. The notion of a right to health is itself problematic when it comes to the general mass awareness on the part of people so educating people about healthcare and sanitation is one thing but practicing that totally depends on the people. So the responsibility not lies with the government but the public too. The very challenge of the era was that the right to health must also be based on three pre-condition that deserve to be fulfilled are availability, accessibility and stability.
Automatically serving of right to food via right to health
If we go through the determinants of the right to health we can see that this right actually tries to ensure that not only the stomach remains filled but also the entire system of the body remains fit. It ensures all the internal as well as external factors which are actually required for healthy India and stronger India. The right to food is basically based on the consideration of poverty the so-called below poverty line concept and the unemployment along with other social vices too. But it is not justified if we feed people who are sick from inside because of air pollution, unclean water or unhygienic surroundings. This not only hampers productivity but efficiency too. As we all know that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body and that healthy mind actually creates potential inside the body of beings to work hard and contribute to the progress of the nation.
The right to food supplies the people with grains at low prices through PDS shops, but why should we don’t go for just utilizing that waived off money for ensuring adequate and quality standard of living of the people by which this right to health actually became a right by which the government ensures the fresh circulation of blood inside the body, or we can also say that right to never fall sick.
So in concluding remarks, we can only say that the right to food must be there but under the ambit of right to health. As recently we have seen the WHO’s report on the hunger index and that too India’s stand wrt malnutrition, stunting and wasting. As the government is spending huge amounts to ensure food for all but that food remains unutilized. There are also problems related to the implementation of this right as we often hear about the hunger deaths in India which somehow indicates the misallocation or corruption which led to inequality.
So efficiency is ensured only when the health is placed first and then the right to food.