The Global Hunger Index
The Global Hunger Index Report is released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) every year. This year, 2016, India’s rank was 97 out of the 118 developing nations. Sadly, India is behind all its neighbours- China (29), Nepal (72), Myanmar (75), Sri Lanka (84) and Bangladesh (90), except for Pakistan (107).
According to the report:
- The GHI score of India is 28.5. Whereas, the average scores of all other developing countries are 21.3.
- 15.2% of the Indian citizens are undernourished.
- 38.7% of the under-five children are stunted.
The GHI score is a multi dimensional index that has four indicators:
- Proportion of undernourished
- Child mortality
- Child stunting
- Child wasting or acute malnutrition
The possible causes for such a poor index:
- There is a strong lack of implementation of the schemes for poor
- Lack of education on family planning
- Poor early child care. Families lack even the very basic necessities of life
- Problem of unemployment among the rural youth
- Lack of skilled labours or workers
- Circulation of black money in the economy leading to inflation
- Low standard of living among the poor
- Lack of proper land reforms due to which the poor are the most affected
- Lack of basic primary education
- Negligence of the tribal problems. A report shows that most of the child deaths occur in the tribal belts.
Since the data is extremely alarming (for a score greater than 50), the government should make it a priority task to reduce the hunger levels from the country.
Several steps can be taken in this regard:
- Strong implementation and monitoring of the existent schemes rather than creation of new ones.
- The integration of several ministries like- the Ministry of Health and Family welfare, women and child development, etc, so that they can work together towards this cause.
- Reduction of black money in the economy by introducing new and innovative monetary policies.
- Proper education on family planning and efforts by NGOs and the government in this direction
- Ensuring the basic primary education to every citizen of the country
- Increasing the number of teachers in the schools and also improving the quality of education
- Increasing the Skill development programmes
- Proper land reforms, digitization of land records.
- Increasing the budget allocated for the schemes of the poor and keeping track of the budget utilization
- Prioritizing the tribal problems and giving more attention towards them
- Proper sanitization and hygiene maintenance under the Swachh Bharat Mission to eliminate diseases among the poor
- Inclusion of nutritious food under the Food Security Mission
- Providing proper mid day meals to the school going children.
- Special focus to be given to the pregnant mothers and support by the NGOs and Anganwadi workers.
The Global Hunger Index of 2016 gives a strong message to India that it is time to take the issue seriously and quicken the pace at which it is working to solve the problem of hunger. Though difficult but it is not an impossible task to totally eliminate hunger from the country, especially, when it is made a priority.