UC Talk: Corinne Tagliarina Discusses the Right to Food in India
Corinne Tagliarina, Adjunct Professor of Human Rights Advocacy at Utica College, recently spoke on campus about her research on the human right to food in India.
The right to food is a recognized human right and constitutional right in India, furthered in recent years by the courts and social movements. If you’re making a public interest rights claim in India, you can go directly to the Supreme Court. The Right to Food Campaign has been a massive social movement since 2001.
Voter turnout is high in India, including among low income people. Food is starting to become an issue that influences people’s voting behavior. Not surprisingly, political parties are becoming more aware of this.
Close examination of party platforms over the last twenty years reveal that the party in power tends not to discuss the issue, while parties out of power do, often in ways critical of the current administration. This suggests unfulfilled promises can generate electoral accountability as public food distribution receives greater scrutiny.
Empirical analysis found that none of the major parties, including the Indian National Congress and BJP, have done a particularly noteworthy job, either at the state or federal level. Corruption is the major systematic challenge. Still, the Indian government does much to help ensure people have food, including thirteen related federal programs, particularly compared to other countries.
Indian parties would be wise to stop making food related promises they can’t keep or don’t intend to. The economy is growing quickly, but the benefits are not being fairly distributed. The right to food is taken seriously by voters, who will remind those in power of this, either rewarding or punishing them come Election Day.