The pandemic has reportedly intensified food insecurity in India, with the hunger crisis gripping vast swathes of rural hinterland and some urban areas.
"The food stress existed long before the start of the pandemic. It has now become worse. Many people have lost their jobs, and those with low incomes complain about food insecurity," Dipa Sinha of the Right to Food Program told DW.
A recent COVID-19 Livelihoods Survey conducted by the Azim Premji University revealed that hundreds of thousands of families in India have been forced to reduce their food consumption during the pandemic.
"Food is scarce in many states, with millions of people unable to make ends meet," Jean Dreze, a development economist, told DW.
Experts say the hunger crisis is not due to the shortage of food production; surplus food items have been lying in the stores of the Food Corporation of India.
"Stocked food items must now be used to provide relief to millions of Indians," Himanshu Himanshu, an associate professor at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, told DW, adding that by they will not only help reduce the food surplus but also boost India's economy by increasing the disposal income of households that are struggling due to the pandemic.