New Delhi: Punjab, the best performing Indian state in terms of hunger level, ranks below countries like Honduras and Vietnam, which are placed low in global ranking. And that bares open the ground realties in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, which figure at the top of India State Hunger Index.
“When Indian states are compared to countries in the 2008 Global Hunger Index, Madhya Pradesh ranks between Ethiopia and Chad. Punjab, the best-performing state, ranks below Gabon, Honduras and Vietnam,” a report released by the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) said.
“India is home to the world’s largest food insecure population, with more than 200 million people who are hungry,” India State Hunger Index (ISHI) said, adding that the country’s poor performance is driven by its high levels of child under-nutrition and poor calorie count.
“Its rates of child malnutrition is higher than most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa,” it noted.
G K Chadha, member of PM’s Economic Advisory Council, who released the report on Tuesday said, “Figuring in the 88 countries itself is shameful for the country. Policy-makers have to think about it. High GDP growth is not sufficient. Inclusive growth is necessary.” The country has a poor record on distribution of wealth, he added.
India, which scored 66th place in the 2008 Global Hunger list of 88 countries, does not have a single state in the ‘low hunger´ or ’moderate hunger’ categories.
Twelve states including Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and West Bengal are in the ’alarming’ category, with one state — Madhya Pradesh — falling in the ‘extremely alarming´ category, the report said.
Four states — Punjab, Kerala, Haryana and Assam — are in the ’serious’ category, it says.
According to the report, child underweight accounted for the greatest contribution to the State Index for almost all states, followed by calorie deficiency and child mortality. In a few states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, calorie deficiency contributed almost as much as child underweight.
The India State Hunger Index was compiled by IFPRI along with Germany-based Wethungerlife and California University. They analysed hunger levels using 2004-05 data in 17 major states which represents more than 95% of the population.