Just a day after the Global Hunger Index ranked India at 66 out of 88 developing and transition economies, the first ever India State Hunger Index (ISHI) released on Wednesday gives a vivid picture of the food crisis at home. As highlighted on Mint’s Views pages on Tuesday, we simply cannot afford to neglect this “crisis of the poor” even as the global financial turmoil is capturing the maximum attention today.
ISHI, co-authored by the International Food Policy Research Institute, covers child malnutrition, child mortality rates and calorie deficiency. It shows that not one state has managed to moderate the problem of hunger—the status ranges from “serious” to “extremely alarming”. It also shows that higher growth states such as Gujarat and Maharashtra have higher levels of hunger than slower growing ones such as Punjab.
Clearly, investing more in agriculture and anti-poverty schemes is part of the answer. But simply cleaning up our act in existing programmes would do a lot, too. Can, and will, we?