Biraj Patnaik is the Principal Adviser to the Commissioners of the Supreme Court in the Right to Food case in India. The Commissioners monitor all the food and employment schemes of the government on behalf of the court and oversee the compliance of Supreme Court orders on the right to food. India has also seen a very activist role of the Supreme Court which passed close to 200 orders on the right to food in the landmark right to food case (PUCL vs. Union of India, 2001) over the past fifteen years. He has been part of the right to food campaign, a prominent civil society campaign in India, since it’s inception.
He was closely associated with the processes of drafting and lobbying for the National Food Security Act (2013), a legislation that created legal entitlements for close to a billion people for subsidised food grains, free meals and cash entitlements.
He is in many government committees and involved in the process of reforms of food schemes and policies across the country. He was one of the co-founders of the “mitanin” community health worker program that trained and deployed more than 60,000 women health volunteers in Chhattisgarh. He is the founder-member and on the board of several organizations including Amnesty International India, State Health Resource Centre, Centre for Equity Studies, Program on Womens’ Economic Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR) and Mobile Creches. He is on the International Editorial Board of the Global Food and Nutrition Watch.
Biraj is also engaged with international right to foood and nutriton work and is actively involved in the Open Ended Working Groups (OEWG) of the Committee on World Food Security including the ones on monitoring, nutrition and SDGs, as a member of the Civil Society Mechanism (CSM). He is a member of the Co-ordinating Committee of the Gloabal Network on Right to Food and Nutriton that brings together social movements and NGOs on promoting a human rights based approach to food systems and nutrition.
He worked for a decade in Action Aid. He has a master’s degree in management from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand and was a Chevening Senior Gurukul Scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.