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"Calling India a hungry state may offend some people". But what else do you call a country where 15% of its people go to bed hungry every night. 194 million people are Undernourished. Our country is at the 94th position according to the global Hunger Index report. 20% of children below 5 years are underweight. The height of 38% of the children of the country is less than what they should be.
The good news is there is no scarcity of food. This means that no one needs to die of hunger, and no kids need to go to bed without food. The bad news is that we are terrible at managing food, so bad that it causes starvation.
Another big cause of hunger — distribution of food. The British started the public distribution system in the 1940s and yet, it could not prevent the great famine in Bengal and took 3 million lives. The public distribution system is still in place. Everyone above and below the poverty line with a ration card is entitled to subsidized food grains.
According to the UN , 40% of India's food production is either lost or wasted.
The National Food Security Act , 2013, ensures access to adequate quantities of quality food at affordable prices for people to live their life with dignity.
But government schemes to implement food security are plugged by many roadblocks .
According to a survey by an NGO (video volunteers), it is shocking that “54% of the people get food grains less than the prescribed 35 kg and 70% people have to buy cheaper grains at prices higher than the prescribed prices.”
In 2020 India fell in the 'serious' hunger category on the global hunger index . In 2000, India was in the 'alarming' hunger category.So improvement is there but very sluggish.
* Among BRICS nations : -
# Both China and Brazil are considered to have very low levels of hunger.
# South Africa is indicating moderate levels of hunger.
* Among serious hunger nations :-
# India stands with some of the poorest African nations, as well as its own South Asian neighbours, all of whom have a better situation except Afghanistan.
The government has also taken significant steps to combat under- and malnutrition over the past two decades.
The government also runs the 'Anganwadi ' program for children, pregnant and lactating women. It also runs the mid-day meal program for school children.
So here's the whole issue in a nutshell :-
The country has millions of hungry people, millions of children are malnourished and stunted.
The government's program to deal with this problem is great, but the ground realities are shocking.
This article has been written by Raushan Kumar for the Paradigm.
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