Reading Group on Food and Nutrition in India


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Reading Group on Food and Nutrition in India

by The Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development and the South Asian Research Cluster (SARC), Wolfson College


Date: November 11 (Week 5) and November 25 (Week 7) from 4-5 pm.


To register for the reading group, please write to us at


The right to food and nutrition is central to a dignified life, but many people in India are deprived of this crucial human right, in spite of policies like the Public Distribution System and Midday Meal Scheme. Around 25% of the world’s hungry people, and 30% of the world’s wasted children live in India. And this is in light of the fact that estimates suggest up to 40% of food produced in India goes to waste. Compounding the existing inefficiencies in India’s food system with the recent COVID-19 pandemic yields prospects for a worrying future for India.

There are several important questions that need to be raised to begin to understand how India has come to its current position and to also shape the future trajectory of food and nutrition policy in India. For example, what are the systemic flaws in policies like the Public Distribution System and Midday Meal Scheme? Given the importance of nutrition for childhood development and India’s large young demographic, how can existing policies be improved and new policies be designed and implemented to ensure India’s citizens have access to proper nutrition? How can India make greater progress in reducing the environmental impact of its food system?

The aim of this reading group is to initiate, and build, a multi-disciplinary intellectual community on food and nutrition in India at the University of Oxford. We hope to bring together scholars across a range of disciplines – physical sciences, social sciences, humanities and the medical sciences. By doing so, we aim to contribute to the University’s priority areas of sustainability and food systems research, particularly by focusing on a country of global significance where Oxford’s diverse expertise has yet to be coordinated. This reading group will also contribute towards encouraging focus on theory and literature emerging from developing countries, and towards deepening networks between various departments and research centres in Oxford.


  • This term, the reading group will be held on November 11 (Week 5) and November 25 (Week 7) from 4-5 pm.
  • Members, by rotation, will select one reading per meeting, to be shared atleast one week in advance. Readings in consecutive meetings will be from different disciplines to encourage discussion across a breadth of ideas and methods.
  • The meeting will be a discussion of the reading, led by the person who suggested it (up to 15 min), followed by a group discussion for 45 minutes. Each session will be 1 hour long.