Global Hunger Index (Report) 2017: India’s Ground Reality Check
A plethora of claims has always been made by the Indian government that hunger problem is decreasing. There are Innumerable Schemes ranging from National Health Mission (NHM), Mid-day meal programme, to the recently launched Annapurna Scheme; but what about the ground reality? Is there really any significant change or is it just a hoax? Well, the recently released ‘Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2017’ report by Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) paints a dark picture. In spite of spending the huge amount of money, India hasn’t progressed to eradicate hunger.
According to the global hunger index (GHI), with a score of 3.14, India is at the high end of the ‘serious category’, adding “given that three-quarters of South Asia’s population reside in India, the situation in that country strongly influences South Asia’s regional score.”
At a rank of 100, India ranks lower than all of its neighboring countries - Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29)—except Pakistan (106). Even Countries like North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) have performed much better than India.
The 12th edition of the index ranked countries in the developing world, nearly half of which have “extremely alarming”, “alarming” or “serious” hunger levels. India was placed in the “serious” category and was one of the worst-performing countries within the category. India’s poor performance is one of the reasons for pushing South Asia down as the worst performing region this year, followed closely by Africa South of the Sahara.
This poor rank further indicates that more than one-fifth (21 percent) of the children younger than the age of five suffer from wasting; which means they weigh too little for their height and every third child in this age group is too short for his/her age.
IFPRI Director for South Asia P K Joshi says, “Even with the massive scale-up of national nutrition-focused programmes in India, drought, and structural deficiencies have left a large number of poor in India at risk of malnourishment in 2017.”
So, what are the reasons that India is lagging behind in the Hunger report?
Being the second most populated country in the world, it is nearly impossible to provide nutritious food to a large part of the population.
On India, the report said that the country’s top 1% own more than 50% of its wealth, India is the world’s second-largest food producer, yet it is also home to the second highest population of under-nourished in the world. With such high level of income inequality, nourished food is available only to few while the majority still struggle to earn meals of two times.
As India spends the huge amount of money on hunger schemes, its poor performance in the report raises some serious questions. The answer to these questions could be corruption at each level of food distribution department, where a large part of the subsidized grain is sold to retailers in the market. Ineffective storage also supplements the problem. Every year tonnes of food grain is destroyed by rain etc. The government policy of Exporting also contributes to the shortage of food in India.
Without focusing on such basic issues which are contributing to the Hunger problem, India wouldn’t be able to meet the goal 1 and goal 2 of United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals that envision eradication of poverty and hunger by 2030.
Author: Shivang Tandon
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article or any other publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Educoncours or its members.