WFP has been present in India since 1963.
WFP’s work in the country has evolved with economic growth and changing needs. Self-sufficiency in cereal production and large food-based safety nets to provide food security throughout the life cycle has allowed WFP to transition from distributing food to providing technical assistance. Food delivery was phased out in 2012, and a new Country Strategic Plan 2015-18 was signed between the Government of India and WFP.
Through this plan, WFP supports three Government food-based safety nets, covered under the National Food Security Act, which makes food a legal entitlement: the Targeted Public Distribution System, which covers poor and vulnerable people—or 67 percent of the Indian population; the Midday Meal Scheme—the world’s largest school meals program, which reaches some 120 million children between the ages of 6 and 14; and Integrated Child Development Services, which assists pregnant and nursing women and children below the age of 6.
WFP contributes to the Government’s efforts through the following efforts:
- Improvement of the efficiency of safety nets: WFP supports the Government of India around service delivery through technological solutions and evidence-based research. WFP is collaborating with the states of Odisha and Kerala to scale up reforms, building on the experiences of an earlier pilot and a country-wide study undertaken to develop best practices. Through these initiatives, WFP is indirectly reaching 67.3 million people.
- Improvement of the nutritional value of food under safety nets: WFP advocates for the enhancement of the nutritional content of the food basket through fortification and diversification. WFP supports various pilot initiatives to demonstrate models for enhancing nutritional value in the government school meals program. These projects are being implemented in both Kerala and Odisha with potential for statewide scale up.
- Improvement of systems for food security analysis and monitoring: WFP is partnering with state and national governments to strengthen and institutionalize their statistical and analytical systems for monitoring food and nutritional security.
- Contribution to knowledge sharing: A Letter of Intent has been signed to initiate the process of establishing of a Centre of Excellence. A high-level steering committee consisting of key secretaries will move this forward.