This news came a month ago but somehow, it is making some noise (thankfully) only now. Tubelight?
India’s ranking on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. Blame it on Covid but the harsh reality is that more children are going hungry now than they did even two years ago. India’s ranking slid from 94 in 2020 to 101 in 2021, which puts it behind its neighbours Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Like we did the last time too, India has voiced strong objection to this ranking, saying that the publishers “have not done their due diligence before releasing the report". The Govt has said that the FAO methodology is “unscientific", saying that “the scientific measurement of undernourishment would require measurement of weight and height, whereas the methodology involved here is based on Gallup poll based on pure telephonic estimate of the population".
The publishers, in their defence said that they had not used FAO’s Gallup telephone-based opinion indicator — the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES) — for their report. They also said that the full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will likely only be reflected in the GHI data in the coming years.
What is irrefutable, irrespective of what anyone says is that among SE countries, India ranks lowest in the GHI. Thus while children in India go hungry, it pains one to see food rotting in the godowns or being exported. Aren’t we missing the point somewhere? Children are the future and if the future grows up poor and hunger, what kind of a future are we really building? Just paper tigers?
There is no official data on poverty numbers for the last 8 years. Year after year, we have record grain production, yet so many children under age of 5 go hungry most days? One can refute the GHI but can one refute the lack of data on poverty? Growth slowdown due to corona is just one aspect of the economy; what about real people and their lives? India has so many new billionaires being minted at the fastest pace but in the same country, children sleep hungry? So much inequality?
Let’s ‘Make India’ first and then talk big about ‘Make in India.’