As Maharashtra is going to polls on October 21, the 2019 Global Hunger Index published on the eve of World Food Day is a big blow for the ruling BJP. In Global Hunger Index, India is placed at 102nd position out of 117 countries. It is even 8-spot behind Pakistan which is placed at 94th position. India is ranked below Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. China is at 25th place in this list. It is shameful situation for a fast growing economy like India which is eyeing to be five trillion dollar economy. Global Hunger Index indicates that India fails in feeding its population and there is serious level hunger in the country.
As per Global Hunger Index in 2015, India was ranked at 93rd place. In 2017, it was placed at 100th position. Now in 2019, India is ranked at 102nd position. Thus, during the tenure of PM Narendra Modi, India slipped in ranking. It means that serious level hunger increased in the country during this period. On the other hand, countries like Pakistan and Nepal have improved their condition during the same period.
When our correspondent Nikhil Sagare spoke to Congress spokesperson Dr Raju Waghmare he said, “The BJP-Shiv Sena government doesn’t care about poor, Adivasi, Dalits. Their policies are anti-poor. If India ranks below Pakistan and Bangladesh in Global Hunger Index then it doesn’t augur well for the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah talks about development but nation has not made any progress.”
“In the year 2014-15 if India’s rank was in 90’s and now the nation has slipped to 102 then BJP-Sena must do some self-introspection. We will raise this issue while campaigning for election,” he added.
Global Hunger Index has given a shot in the arm for the opposition in poll-bound Maharashtra. The NCP and Congress will raise this issue to attack Devendra Fadnavis government. Marathwada and other regions of the state have been facing drought for last couple of years. Farmers are still committing suicide. People are forced to migrate in search of livelihood. In this scenario, Global Hunger Index assumes significance.
Shiv Sena leader and deputy chairperson Maharashtra legislative council Neelam Gorhe said, “The Global Hunger Index is entire India’s Average Hunger Index. In Maharashtra tribals are lagging behind in development. These figures must be looked at analytically for changing the policies. Since last 2 to 3 years due to global warming drought and heavy rains have occurred. It’s an alarming situation. This is not a political issue and is related with humanity.”
In Melghat of the state, malnutrition claimed lives of thousands of children in past. The situation is not better even today. Similarly, Latur region of the state also depicts very sad picture of development. Vidarbha is known as the suicide zone of farmers. Gadchiroli like areas are far away from the race of development. So, malnutrition and hunger prevail in these areas of Maharashtra. Condition of children and women of these areas is very pitiable. This puts a big question mark on the claim that Maharashtra is one of the most developed state of India.
BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, “Who has released this index. Who is raking up this issue ahead of election? If India is lagging behind Pakistan and Bangladesh then it is false survey. A probe must be held to ascertain who has released this survey.”
It is remarkable that India is suffering from economic slowdown. But Modi government is continuously denying any crisis. Recently, World Bank and the Reserve Bank of India cut the GDP growth rate to 6 per cent for financial year 2019-20 on account of economic slowdown in the country. Therefore, Global Hunger Index can be an eye opener for the government. This situation jeopardises the people’s health and children’s growth and development.
NCP MLC Vidya Chavan said, “Women & Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde has failed to deliver. Nowadays no commodity is available on ration. Earlier kerosene was available through ration. Children used to get nutritious meal at schools but now corruption has increased. The government spends lumpsum money on advertisements.”
Global Hunger Index is prepared on the basis of four factors undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age). For last fifteen years, Global Hunger Index has been published by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.
As per report, India has been ranked much below to China (25th), Nepal (73rd), Myanmar (69th), Sri Lanka (66th) and Bangladesh (88th). India is placed at the lowest position among south Asian countries. The condition of only 15 countries in the world is worse than India, which are African countries. Forty-three countries, including India have serious level of hunger.
By Rajesh Kumar Choudhary