Drug against Sustainable Livelihood


The problems of drug abuse and illicit trafficking are threatening livelihoods and communities in many countries. Globally, it is estimated that between 153 million and 300 million people aged 15-64 use an illicit substance as per the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). It is also estimated that there are between 99,000 and 2,53,000 deaths globally due to illicit drug use every year. In India, there are about 3 million estimated victims of different kinds of drug usages.
Illicit use of psychoactive drugs is dangerous for the health of individuals and society. It induces changes in behaviour and emotional status and causes severe psychological disorders. It also undermines the social fabric of the community. Because of their action on the brain, such drugs induce dependence on them, leading to loss of interest in many areas of life. Drugs are placed under national and international control to prevent the negative health and social consequences of substance abuse. Reasons for drug use are closely linked to population mobility and livelihoods, impacting not only on the individual drug user but also on the families and communities in a devastating way and further aggravating the situation of poverty.
On June 26, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed, which serves as a reminder of the need to combat the problems to the society posed by illicit drugs. This important day was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly to create a society free of illegal drugs and drug abuse.  The UNODC has long been at the forefront of campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of traditional drugs such as cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamine-type substances.  This day is supported by individuals, communities and various organisations all over the world.
Today, however, there is an alarming new drug problem; the demand has soared for substances not under international control. Therefore, the 2013 UNODC global awareness campaign “Make health your ‘new high’ in life, not drugs” aims to inform the public, particularly young people, about the harmful effects of drugs and new psychoactive substances (NPS). Sold openly, including through the internet, these substances, which have not been tested for safety in humans, can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs.
Drug and alcohol abuse are the examples of drinking and using drugs (prescription and illicit) that cause harmful effects to a person’s health, livelihood, relationships and productivity. Single dosage of either alcohol or drugs doesn’t automatically deem the person an addict. However, continuous usage and drug abuse can lead to chemical dependency and addiction. Drug abuse has been known to destroy homes, deteriorate relationships, causing fatal accidents, domestic violence and physical abuse. Drug trafficking is a global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Illicit drugs weaken economic and social development and contribute to crimes, instability, insecurity and the spread of HIV.
Livelihood is an integrated system enabling people to have a secure and sustainable living. The system is based on access to education, health, hygiene, risk reduction, housing, clothing, skills, means of production and information. The concept of sustainable livelihoods has been utilised extensively by the UNODC and the international community as a basis for their work in the field of alternative development. To date, the major objective of interventions in this area has been to provide alternative sustainable livelihoods to farming families in order to prevent them from being dependent on illicit crop cultivation. The principal desired outcome of this approach is the cessation of illicit drug crop cultivation through creation of alternative income.
People living in poverty are more likely to engage in drug abuse, become criminals and suffer from bad health. Teenagers and young adults are also particularly vulnerable to using illicit drugs. The prevalence of drug use among young people is more than twice as high as that among the general population. At this age, peer pressure to experiment with illicit drugs can be strong and the self-esteem is often low. Also, those who take drugs tend to be either misinformed or insufficiently aware of the health risks involved.
The UN General Assembly recognised that despite continued and increased efforts by the international community, the world drug problem continues to constitute a serious threat to public health, the safety and wellbeing of humanity and sovereignty of States, and that it undermines socioeconomic and political stability and sustainable development. It encourages the UNODC to continue its work on international drug control and urges all Governments to provide the fullest possible financial and political support to enable the UNODC to continue, expand and strengthen its operational and technical cooperation activities within its mandates.
There is a need for Government enforcement agencies, nongovernmental philanthropic agencies and others to collaborate and supplement each other’s efforts for a solution to the problem of drug addiction through education and legal actions.
Steps should be taken to reach out and engage drug users in prevention, treatment and care strategies that protect them, their families from infectious diseases, health problems in general and encourage entry into substance dependence treatment and medical care and rehabilitation.
Taking into account the individual right to a healthy life and the interest of the entire society, specific interventions have to be promoted to reduce the adverse health and social consequences of drug abuse. These strategies need to target the sub-groups of the population that are not sensitive to prevention programmes, drug-dependent individuals who are not motivated to attend treatment facilities, non-responders to treatment who continue to use illicit drugs and those patients who easily relapse into substance abuse.
In a number of countries, laws prescribe severe punishments for all drug-related offences, including drug use and possession of drugs. The Article 47 of the Constitution of India directs the State to regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties, and, in particular, to endeavour to bring about prohibition of consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health.
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 has been enacted in India. Under this Act, it is illegal for a person to produce/manufacture/cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store and consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. The Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act is a drug control law passed in 1988 by the Parliament of India. It was established to enable full implementation and enforcement of the NDPS Act of 1985.
Seeking to check the alarming rise of drug abuse in various parts of the country, the Government is planning to introduce a National Policy on Drug Abuse. The State Governments also have their own Health Departments and Social Welfare Departments, each of which has its own set of activities relating to Drug Demand Reduction. The Government’s policy has thus been to promote their use for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion from licit sources and prohibiting illicit traffic and abuse.
Governments have a responsibility to counteract both drug trafficking and drug abuse, but communities can also make a major contribution. Families, schools and civil societies can do their part to rid their communities of drugs. The media can also raise awareness about the dangers of drugs. This will foster communities free of drug-related crimes and violence, individuals free of drug dependence who can contribute to a common future and a safer world for all.


Sustainable Land Management against Desertification



Desertification and land degradation are now persistent in all ecosystems resulting in water scarcity in different parts of the world. Desertification is a concept used to grasp more acute forms of the degradation of land-based ecosystems.
This has a negative impact on the availability, quantity and quality of water resources that leads to scarcity of water. Further, the direct physical effects of land degradation include the drying up of freshwater resources and increase in the frequency of drought. Desertification is also associated with biodiversity loss and contributes to global climate change.
The World Day to Combat Desertification is an occasion to remind everybody that desertification can be effectively tackled and solutions to it are possible. The day is being observed since 1995 to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to combat desertification and the effects of drought. In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 17 as the World Day to Combat Desertification to promote public awareness of the issue and the implementation of the United Nations convention resolution to combat desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and desertification. Droughts have a critical impact on agricultural production and have added to the soaring food prices and shortages worldwide.
The theme for the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification is ‘Drought and Water Scarcity’. This year’s slogan “Don’t let our future dry up” calls everyone to take action to promote preparedness for and resilience to water scarcity, desertification and drought. The slogan embodies the message that we are all responsible for water and land conservation and their sustainable use and that there are solutions to these serious natural resource challenges. Land degradation does not have to threaten our future.
Water scarcity is both a natural and a human-made phenomenon. There is enough freshwater on the planet for seven billion people, but it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainably managed. Water scarcity already affects every continent. As per the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), around 1.2 billion people live in areas of physical scarcity, and 500 million more people are approaching this situation. Another 1.6 billion people, or almost one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage (where countries lack the necessary infrastructure to take water from rivers and aquifers).
In India, the per capita water availability is reducing drastically due to the increase in population. The average annual per capita availability of water in the country, taking into consideration the population of the country as per the 2001 census, was 1,816 cubic meters (cum) which got reduced to 1,545 cubic meters as per the 2011 census.
In 2001, the average per capita water availability in Odisha was around 3,359 cum per year as compared to the national average of 1,816 cum. With projected future population, the per capita water availability in the State will reduce to 2,218 cum in 2051. A per capita water availability less than 1,700 cum is termed water stress condition while if it falls below 1,000 cum, it is termed as water scarce condition.
The groundwater potential varies in different regions of the country. Due to heavy extraction of groundwater and its limited recharge, the groundwater is getting depleted at a fast rate. This depletion is particularly marked in most of the dry land regions of the States such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra. Also, there are many villages in the country either with scarce water supply or without any source of water. In many rural areas, women still have to walk a distance of about 2.5 km to reach the nearest source of water.
In Odisha, the agriculture sector contributes about 50 per cent of the State domestic product and provides employment to about 75 per cent of the total working force. In the maximum rain-fed districts like Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabaragpur and Rayagada, frequent occurrence of drought result in severe crop failure. The basic problems in these areas include water scarcity which results in low productivity. Many villages in Odisha are showing symptoms of desertification. Poor and unsustainable land management techniques also worsen the situation. Over-cultivation, overgrazing and deforestation put great strain on land and water resources.
Sustainable land management is an important measure for tackling desertification. It includes fostering balanced freshwater resource management for domestic use, including aquaculture, fishing and irrigation; restoring water-table recharge, protecting wetlands from negative impacts of agricultural and settlement encroachments, restoring soil productivity and reducing soil erosion through sustainable land  management and adopting sustainable cropping techniques such as organic farming and agro forestry.
To combat drought and water scarcity, activities like percolation tanks, water reservoirs and construction of small, medium-size dams and rivers are useful which can retain more surface water, while increasing the groundwater recharge development of watersheds is an important programme to make best use of the rainwater for agricultural production while improving soil conservation and biodiversity.
Watershed management progammes are implemented in drought-prone areas to tackle special problems faced by those areas constantly affected by severe drought conditions. The main objective of the watershed approach is to minimise the adverse effects of drought on the production of crops, livestock and productivity of land, to promote overall economic development and improve the socioeconomic condition of the people.
An integrated land and water resource management policy would ultimately bring in environmental and socioeconomic benefits. Rural and urban populations both benefit from sustainable land management practices. These also serve in maintaining significant agricultural biodiversity and resilient agro ecosystems including forest resources.
Desertification is not just about adopting physical remedies, as social remedies are equally important. Both remedies need to be tackled in an integrated manner, rather than separately, if policies for addressing desertification are to be effective.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that the world indeed has become more drought-prone during the past 25 years, and that climate projections indicate an increased frequency of severe droughts in many parts of the world. It is imperative to prepare guidelines from national to village-level land use planning for sustainable land management practices. Village community groups should be trained for effective use of land use plans. This would prevent water scarcity and desertification in coming years. Effective prevention of desertification requires drought management strategies and policy approaches that promote sustainable resource use. These strategies must be science-based and directed at managing the risks and mitigate the effects of desertification and drought

Help Elders live happily


The world is rapidly ageing. The number of people aged 60 and over as a proportion of the global population will double from 11 per cent in 2006 to 22 per cent by 2050. By then, there will be more older people than children (aged 0–14 years) in the population for the first time in human history. People everywhere must age with dignity and security, enjoy life through full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is imperative because the elderly contribute to the family by dispensing the acquired wisdom, distributing their wealth and keeping the members of the family in union. Such a system of mutual support is, however, facing hardships in a modern industrial society.
People in old age suffer from various problems for a variety of reasons. Most of them suffer from diseases like arthritis, blood sugar, heart ailments and so on and need care from their children. They have spent all their life’s earnings in discharging their parental duties and are totally dependent on their children for their existence in the old age. However family and community are now recognised as being responsible for abuse and neglect of the elder. In some cases, they lead a hopeless and lonely life with nothing to look forward to. Their very existence is a painful and tragic extension of their life and they surrender everything to their cruel fate. 
There are so many examples of elder abuse and neglect in our country. ‘Thalaikoothal’ in some parts of Tamil Nadu is one such example where the family gets rid of the old people by killing them. This is a cruelty, where the old man would be given an oil bath and then fed with tender coconut water twice or thrice. This would lead to high fever and renal failure leading to death within two or three days. There are also many incidences of elder abuse in other parts of our country. Many laws have been formulated to prevent such cruelties on elder people, but, above all, there should be a sociological change which would bring relief of such action.
To create awareness among the younger generation, the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and the United Nation’s World Health Organisation. On March 9, 2012, the UN General Assembly established June 15 as a UN International Day. The purpose of the WEAAD is to encourage communities to recognise the problem of elderly abuse, and for countries to create policies that foster respect for elders and provide them the tools to continue to be productive citizens.
The UN agency has noted that the world needs a global response to the problem, which focuses on protecting the rights of older persons. The WEAAD involves activities to bring greater recognition of mistreatment of older adults wherever they live throughout the world, and to highlight the need for appropriate action.
The world’s older population, defined in the present context as those aged 60 years and above, now stands at around 760 million. Asia accounts for more than half of the total (414 million, including 166 million in China and 92 million in India). The older population of India, which was 56.7 million in 1991, 72 million in 2001 and 92 million in 2011, is expected to grow to 137 million by 2021.
In India, elder abuse and neglect has only recently been a subject of discussion. There are no reliable national level data in India on the prevalence and incidence of elder abuse and neglect. In fact, to a large extent it is hidden by older people, their families and communities as people do not want to acknowledge or talk about this sort of behaviour.
 It is true that elder abuse and neglect are difficult to quantify as these occur in the privacy of the home, institutions, and reporting systems for elder abuse are almost absent in the country.
Evidence of growing incidence and prevalence is also being estimated by increases of old age homes and demand for institutional care and care providers / givers from outside the family. However, old age homes are not the solutions to the problems faced by elders. Although their basic wants are taken care of, they miss love, affection and emotional connection with their family members.  
Given this trend, the elderly face a number of problems. The problems range from absence of ensured and sufficient income to support themselves and their dependents, to ill health, absence of social security, loss of social role and recognition, to the non-availability of opportunities for creative use of free time.
However sometimes, they involve in different family activities such as guiding younger generation, taking care of grandchildren, providing support for children when asked for, helping in household chores, developing hobbies and interests, taking up self-employment, teaching and counselling.
 Economic dependence was considered a major reason for elderly abuse. Physical weakness due to age was also another reason why abuse existed and they could not fight it. Preventing family violence, including the abuse and neglect of older people, is an important community and social policy issue in many countries.
This is a problem in the whole of Ondia and needs to be solved at different levels. Under the eleventh Five-Year plan, the Government of India has taken many steps. Wellbeing of older persons has been mandated in the Constitution of India. Article 41, a Directive Principle of State Policy, has it that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right of public assistance in cases of old age. There are other provisions, too, which direct the State to improve the quality of life of its citizens. Right to equality has been guaranteed by the Constitution as a Fundamental Right. These provisions apply equally to older persons. Social security has been made the concurrent responsibility of the Central and State Governments.
To bring out solution to the various problems of aged people, the Indian Government declared the National Policy of Older Persons (NPOP) in January 1999, the International Year of Older Persons. The policy highlights the rising population of aged people and the urgent need to understand and deal with medical, psychological and socioeconomic problems faced by the elderly.
India passed The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act in 2007. It legally requires children and grandchildren (not minors) to maintain the health and wellness of an aging family member, where “maintenance” is defined as the provision for food, residence and medical attendance and treatment; and “senior citizen” as any person age sixty or older. This is the government’s attempt to place responsibility on family members.
Many States have general statutory provisions which can be used by older persons under certain conditions.
The policy would make a change in the lives of senior citizens only if it is implemented. The government and different NGOs have some basic responsibilities in the matter and other institutions as well as individuals with need to consider how they can play their respective roles for the wellbeing of older persons. Collaborative action would go a long way in achieving a more humane society which gives older persons their legitimate place.
The elderly in Odisha are more vulnerable, and in this context, the issue of social security assumes greater significance. To understand the nuances, a study of some demographic and socioeconomic indicators of older persons in terms of their living arrangement, extent of economic independence, economic service-providers and health condition is required. More studies are required to assess the growing insecurities being faced by the aged in Odisha.
Our elders are our asset, and they need to be supported and empowered. 
On this day, we should create awareness about elders and give them dignity, security and care. Youths and elders should live together which would strengthen the family environment and the society as a whole.

End Child Labour


Child labour is an age-long and global problem. Child labour and its related socioeconomic problems are increasing day by day. Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work as labourers. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play.
Child labourers are forced to work in agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, service industries, hotels, bars, restaurants, fast food establishments and domestic service.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is a United Nations agency dealing with labour issues. The effective abolition of child labour is one of the fundamental principles on which the ILO was founded in 1919. The ILO launched the World Day against Child Labour on June 12 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. On this day, the ILO invites everyone to celebrate the World Day against Child Labour.
In 2010, the international community adopted a roadmap for achieving elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016, which stressed that child labour is an impediment to children’s rights and a barrier to development of any nation.
The theme for this year’s World Day against Child Labour is “No to child labour in domestic work.”
Large numbers of children are already involved as domestic workers before they reach the legal minimum age for admission to employment. They are engaged in paid or unpaid domestic work in the home of a third party or employer and perform tasks such as cleaning, ironing, cooking, minding children and gardening. These children can be particularly vulnerable to exploitation and their work is often hidden from the public eyes.
The ILO estimates that 15.5 million children worldwide are engaged in paid or unpaid domestic work in the home of a third party or employer. The vast majority of all child domestic workers are girls (72%). As many as 52 per cent of the child domestic workers are found in hazardous domestic works, and 47 per cent of all child domestic workers are below the age of 14 years, with 3.5 million aged 5 to 11 years and 3.8 million between 12 and 14 years. Some children are working in domestic work as a result of forced labour and trafficking. Although the specific number of children in forced labour and trafficking situations in domestic work is unknown, it is estimated that 5.5 million of them are victims of forced labour and human trafficking around the world.
Child domestic labourers are often ignored by policymakers and excluded from the coverage of legislation. Legislations of a number of countries exclude domestic work in private households. Because of the hidden nature of much domestic work and because labour laws are commonly not applied in the sector, there are particular vulnerabilities. Their lives are controlled by their employers and they are also subjected to verbal and physical abuses. This is a socioeconomic problem. Parents for the reason of poverty send their children to supplement their family incomes derived from child labour. There are also other reasons like illiteracy, ignorance of parents about the importance of education, ignorance of impact on children of labour and lack of concern about government policy.
Even though this is a global phenomenon, it is very unfortunate that India has the largest number of child labourers. In India, more than 12.7 million children are engaged in child labour. And 20 per cent to 40 per cent of these child labourers are in domestic work. There are as many as 15 lakh child labourers in the 30 districts of Odisha. Children of Odisha work in different occupations such as agriculture and allied works, collection and processing of minor forest produces, domestic work/help, hotels/motels/road side dhabas, etc.
Although child labour in India is legally forbidden since 1986, the kids are still involved in different works as child labourers. There are a lot of provisions added in the Constitution of India for child welfare to overcome child labour and to avoid the situations that come as a consequence of the child labour.
The Constitution of India, through various Articles enshrined in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy as: No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment (Article 24); The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age 6 to 14 years(Article 21A); The State shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that they are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age and strength (Article 39E).
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act came to force in 1986. As per the law, any person who employs any child in contravention of the provision of Section 3 of the Act is liable for a jail term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to two years or with fine which shall not be less than `20,000 but which may extend to `50,000, or with both.
In order to stop child labour, the Government of Odisha has passed some rules. One of the important rules is the Odisha Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 1994.
Besides, the Government of India adopted various programmes for eradication of child labour. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has implemented the national policy through the establishment of National Child Labour Projects (NCLPs) for rehabilitation of child workers since 1988. Initially, these projects were industry-specific and aimed at rehabilitating children working in traditional child labour-endemic industries. A renewed commitment to fulfil the Constitutional mandate resulted in enlarging the ambit of the NCLPs in 1994 to rehabilitate children working in hazardous occupations.
Children’s development and an overall eradication of child labour problem depend on active public-private partnership, proper Government policies and programmes for eliminating poverty and unemployment and free basic facilities and education to poor people in the society.
The Government of India is stepping up its fight against child labour. Under new laws, all labour involving children under 14 years old is illegal. Children under 18 years are also protected from any type of hazardous work.
In August 2012, the Jharkhand Government has approved a State Action Plan. This policy framework envisages a child labour-free State by 2016 and details the vision of the State and its plan towards achieving the elimination of child labour and ensuring the right to education to every child. Similar policy frameworks in other States can eradicate child labour in our country.
Children are the biggest asset of a society. The welfare of the society is closely related to the welfare of the child. To eliminate child labour, it is imperative to improve the socio-economic status of their families. Unless the socio-economic status of the poor families is improved, their children will be bound to work as labourers. There is an urgent need for studying the role and perspective of the society towards child worker as the culture of a society plays the vital and important role in establishing the norms and laws.
There are many solutions to the child labour problem. Income of the families should be increased and education for all children irrespective of their economic and social background should be ensured; that helps children to learn skills and earn a livelihood.
At the international level, different organisations are also working to eradicate child labour, but still there are lots of efforts needed to create an environment free from child labour.
Let us all take some steps in this direction so that all children get free education and live a healthy life with their families. This would be beneficial to the individual family as well as the whole society.

Urban Agriculture


The rapid urbanisation in developing nations is accompanied by a rapid increase in urban poverty and urban food insecurity. This scenario is further aggravated by the fact that high food inflation, which by now is a global phenomenon, is expected to continue in future.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has invited people world over to celebrate the annual World Environment Day on June 5 with the theme for this year as “Think. Eat, Save”.
The World Environment Day (WED) designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 is a people’s event. The first WED was observed in 1973. This is the most widely-celebrated global day for positive environmental action. It inspires action by governments, industries, community groups and individuals to improve the environment. It provides a unique opportunity to raise awareness on environment and mobilise action by all stakeholders. 
The issue of food security refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines three facets of food security: food availability, food access and food use.Ensuring food security ought to be an issue of great importance for a country like India where more than one-third of the population is estimated to be absolutely poor. Food security at the national level refers mainly to the availability in the country of sufficient stocks of food to meet domestic demand, either through domestic supply or through imports.
The world’s population is likely to reach 9.1 billion by 2050. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that by 2050, global food demand will increase by 70 per cent in order to feed the global population of 9.1 billion. This is going to put a tremendous pressure on the already scarce land and water resources, thereby implying an urgent need for an alternative way to combat food shortages.
Urban Agriculture (UA) has the potential to provide millions with some secure access to food.UA is defined as the production of crop and livestock goods within cities and towns. UA can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agro forestry and horticulture. These also occur in periphery-urban areas as well.  Urban Agriculture contributes to food security and food safety. 
India is experiencing a shift over time from a largely rural and agrarian population residing in villages to urban, non-agriculture centres. Presently, India has a population of 1.2 billion as per the Census of India, 2011 and is the second most populous country in the world afterChina. However, it is projected that India will be the world’s most populous country by 2025 surpassing China. By 2050, it will have over 1.6 billion people.
Hence, with limited natural resources, water, limited land area and a vast majority of poor, uneducated and underutilised human resources, the cities will be unsustainable. Good practice of UA is one of the solutions for food security in the country.
Integration of Urban Agriculture with urban greening programmes can provide food to urban residents, to reduce urban pollution and temperatures as well as to offer recreation opportunities to improve quality of life for all urban residents. Urban Agriculture in India is just witnessing its beginning with a few initiatives in some of the cities like Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai.
As India progresses towards a rapid phase of urbanisation and as the concept of sustainable cities becomes increasingly acceptable, there are opportunities to build environmentally and economically sound Urban Agriculture systems involving waste and water management that can be incorporated from the beginning itself and make it an
integral part of urban planning. Urban Agriculture is probably the most efficient tool available which can help manage a city’s waste by utilising it for food cultivation and creating jobs.
It creates a diverse ecology where fruit-bearing trees,
vegetable plantations and even fishing, etc., could co-exist and build a wholly ecologically sustainable scenario.
Land policies in and around cities need to be designed in such a way that it accepts agriculture as a legitimate usage of land. Urban Agriculture has to be integrated in the agriculture policies and urban planning.
As more of the world’s population lives in cities, questions of food security and food sovereignty increasingly take on an urban dimension. A greater attention is now being paid to the production and supply of food within urban areas. However, to maximise its contribution and impact, Urban Agriculture must be integrated into broader food systems and into more comprehensive programmes of city planning.
There are hundreds of cities both in rich and poor countries that have set targets to make their cities green and sustainable with food security. The cost of greening and cleaning can be borne by urban food production and Urban Agriculture. Different countries in the world like China, Australia and many Asian as well as African countries are doing it and constantly improving on this. In India, though the concept of Urban Agriculture is beginning to become popular, the concept of good practice Urban Agriculture is yet to gain momentum.
However, ‘Good Practice Urban Agriculture’ efforts have to become much more popular in India for the survival of Indian cities and their citizens. It has the potential for providing much higher benefits in nutrition improvement, income generation and land as well as waste management.
China is a very good example of ‘Good Practice Urban Agriculture’ and today China is highly dependent on urban agriculture.
Urban fringes in Indian cities are mostly used as dumping sites for city wastes. If appropriate agricultural practices are adopted in these sites, it would be beneficial to all.
Urban Agriculture, with good practice, introduced to the fringes has several environmental benefits, namely reduced pollution, beneficial reuse of wastes, increased tree cover and better living conditions for the urban poor living in the urban fringe areas.
‘Good Practice Urban Agriculture’ has to be linked with food system planning and land use planning of a city and surroundings. Hence, ‘Good Practice Urban Agriculture’, food system and land use patterns should be closely interlinked.
There is a need for identification of land for urban development with agriculture. Agricultural land within urban area is to be protected under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act.
New townships should incorporate urban agriculture like city farming, horticulture, etc at the very beginning in the planning stage. This will provide food security and urbanresilience in a sustainable way.
There is a need for greater awareness about urban
agriculture. Socially-oriented enterprises can play a significant role to spread knowledge-intensive techniques in this area. The Government at the same time should facilitate UA through various schemes for food security in the city.