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Zero Hunger and India

Before we analyze “Zero Hunger,” the Goal-2 of SDG, we should know what the Hunger is?

In simple term, hunger means physiological need to eat food.

However, according to GHI (Global Hunger Index) prepared by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), hunger actually combines 4 indicators:

  1. Undernourished
  2. Under weight
  3. Under height
  4. Mortality Under Five

Based on these indicators, we may conclude that hunger is due to

  • Food insecurity
  • Health insecurity

Food insecurity:

According to FAO, food insecurity includes

  1. Quantitative food insecurity that is due to lack of food supply or insufficient food supply
  2. Quantitative food insecurity refers to unbalanced diet
  3. Distributive food insecurity is due to unequal distribution of income/food

Health insecurity:

It actually enhances the ill impacts of food insecurity and it is due to

  1. Poor feeding practices
  2. Poor maternal nutrition
  3. Poor child care

So, the real causes of hunger are

  1. Economic
  • Poverty
  • Income disparity
  • Under production
  • Distorted cropping pattern
  • Under performance of PDS
  1. Social Causes
  • Gender disparity
  • Lack of women empowerment
  • Lack of awareness
  1. Political
  • Law & order problem
  • Hoarding
  • Civil war
  • Corruption

Zero Hunger & Indian reality

  • India is ranked 103 out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index, 2018, with a score of 31.1. India was ranked 100th in 2017.
  • India is among the 45 countries that have “serious levels of hunger”.
  • India is ranked below its neighbors like China (25th), Sri Lanka (67th), Myanmar (68th), Nepal (72nd) and Bangladesh (86th). Pakistan (106th) is ranked below India.
  • According to GHI, 2018
  1. Proportion of undernourished in India is 14.8%
  2. Prevalence of wasting among children under 5 is 21%
  3. Prevalence of stunting among children under 5 is 38.4%
  4. Under five mortality is 4.3%

According to IHDI (Indian States Hunger Index) prepared by IFPRI

  • India is the home to largest food insecure population
  • No Indian State is in the “Low Hunger or “Moderate Hunger category of IGHI.
  • Maximum states i.e. 12 out of 17 are put in “Alarming Category” states
  • One state MP has been put in the “Extremely alarming” category.
  • Better performing states are put in the “Serious category,” which includes Punjab, Kerala, Haryana & Assam; Punjab Being best among all Indian states.

However, even Punjab ranks below countries like Gabon, Honduras & Vietnam, which are themselves ranked low in the global ranking

Way forward

  • Agriculture led initiative -2nd GR with regional approach, crop diversification, Organic/ natural farming i.e. Sustainable agriculture to end hunger
  • Society led initiative – Gender neutral education system, women empowerment and public awareness campaign.
  • Political initiative- Strengthen PDS, Reduce the role of middlemen in food chain and development of efficient medical infrastructure.
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