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India should try to eradicate itself from Global Hunger Index

India is the house to the highest number of hungry people in the world, at 194 million, outstanding China, according to United Nations annual hunger report. India is a prominent global voice that has made significant progress on human development over the past 60 years, but the benefits of a growing economy are not shared equally. The country is still home to one-third of the world’s poor. India is the world’s largest democracy and nearly 1.3 billion citizens. The economy is among the top 10 percentile of fastest growing, and over the past 65 years, life expectancy nearly doubled and adult literacy more than multiplied. India has highest number but from last one year, the nation is being projected as upcoming superpower in foreign soil. It is very surprised to know such facts & figures. I wish no countrymen should starve because they are human.

About 70 per cent of Indians doesn’t have access to decent toilets (which inspires a multitude of bacteria to host their own disease); 35% of households don’t have adequate water sources; 85% of villages lack secondary school. About 40% of villages are disconnected due improper road. With 194.6 million malnourished people in India, which is highest in the world, the annual report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released the data. At the global level, the corresponding figure dropped to 795 million in 2014-15, from 1 billion in 1990-92, with East Asia led by China accounting for most of the reductions, UN body Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said in its report titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015’.

Between 2005 and 2010, 53 million people were lifted out of poverty. However in 2010, 69 per cent still lived on less than US $2 a day, and 33 per cent on less than US $1.25 a day. With a national goal of increased shared prosperity (increasing absolute number of people who are socially included, reasonably secure and not poor), means more than lifting people out of poverty. Gender inequality is pervasive and the ratio of girl to boy children is decreasing. Educational attainment is low and India holds one-third of the world’s illiterate. The nation must overcome enormous structural challenges to sustain a population out of poverty. It seems, not only corruption and population but there are several other factors responsible for pushing the country backwards.

A study published recently has been really disappointing news for India. The study revealed that India has been listed as first country with most number of people who are hungry and the country lacks in feeding its poor people who can’t afford food. Of the Eighth Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations, the first relates to eradicating poverty and extreme hunger, halving hunger by 2015. However, most of the countries including India have not achieved tangible results on this front. The new government has a major task of addressing the issues of poor and hunger. It should now halve hunger at least by 2017-2018. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and yet its riches are hardly redistributed across the population. Indian government is aware about the hurdles in overcoming the poverty and as it wanted to become a developed nation. A wide range of anti-poverty policies have been introduced since the 1950s, which nonetheless took effect after 20 years of implementation.

India too saw a reduction between 1990 and 2015, it added. In 1990-92, those who were starved of food in India numbered 210.1 million, which came down to 194.6 million in 2014-15. In addition, 29 countries have managed to meet the more ambitious goal of the World Food Summit in 1996 where governments had committed to halve the absolute number of undernourished by 2015.

The overall analysis suggested that inclusive economic growth, agricultural investments and social protection, along with political stability, can eradicate hunger, the UN report added.

Despite the good economic performance more than 200 million people are prone to food shortage. In the ranking of the Global Hunger Index has an “alarming” food security situation. The major problem in the country is the high prevalence of underweight children under five, which is a result of low nutrition and educational status of women. While, there has been attention to hunger and undernourishment at the central level, within India’s political system, states are important political units with regard to the planning and execution of development programs. Thus, unpacking the hunger index at the level of the federal states is an important tool to build awareness of the disparities in hunger among them. In addition, the variability of the relative contribution of the underlying components of the hunger index across the different Indian states can help to stimulate the discussion about the drivers of hunger in different state contexts. I hope, the government takes firm stand in eradicating India’s name from the Global Hunger List.

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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