India has alarmingly been sliding down in the Global Hunger Index since 2014. India has slid from 55 in 2014 to 102 in 2019 in the GHI. Among our neighbouring countries, India (102) is behind China (25), Sri Lanka (66), Myanmar (69), Nepal (73), Bangladesh (88) and now even behind Pakistan (94). At present, we are only ahead of Afghanistan (108) among our neighbours. Hunger means the distress associated with a lack of sufficient calories that makes future citizens of a country disabled and stunted forever.
The Global Hunger Index scores have been calculated in a three – step process. First, each country has been valued by four indicators – 1. Under nourishment, 2. Child wasting, 3. Child stunting and 4. Child mortality. Second, each of the four component indicators is given a standardized score on a 100 – point scale based on a global scale in recent decades. Third, standardized scores are aggregated to calculate the GHI score for each country where 0 is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.
In the “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017” report, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN has estimated that 190.7 million (14.5 per cent of our population) people are undernourished in India. Ironically, it has also been estimated by the UN that nearly 40 per cent of the food produced in India is wasted or lost. And this cost India one lakh crore rupees every year. Obsolete technology used in infrastructure and transporting food items is the culprit for food wastage in India.
Instead of engaging in name changing and statue building games or trying to find lives in Mars, India must adopt a better technology to reduce food wastage and improve food distribution system to save millions of living temples in our country. The government should start shelters in various places to distribute cooked food to hungry people.
Employment generation by developing cottage industries and micro can effectively build bridges between food and hungry mouths. It will reduce poverty and hunger as well as create much needed market for our farmers taking them from the path of suicide to prosperity.
Sujit De, Kolkata