Monday, 17 October 2016

India : Superpower???

Around 800 million people in the world still do not have food to eat to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Recently Global Hunger Index was released by The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). IFPRI  calculates GHI scores every year to assess progress towards combating hunger. Though hunger level has fallen by 29 % in developing countries but India is  ranked 97 and categorized with serious hunger level. It is below than neighborhood country like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka . India has only better score than Afghanistan, Pakistan, Timor-leste  and  North Korea in South Asia. GHI assesses  hunger on 4 criteria:

1. Undernourishment
2. Stunting
3. Wasting
4. Child Mortality

As per recent data 40 % of children(under 5 year age ) in India are stunted compared to 60 % in 1990. While analyzing the report, Iraq is in better position than India. Though more than a decade  old unrest takes toll on country.  Central African Republic and Chad have the highest GHI scores(means alarming condition)  in the report , relatively lower percentage over year 2000. On other hand, country like Rawanda , Cambodia and Myanmar have seen largest percentage reduction in hunger of all countries cateogrized as serious or alarming.

  1.  Undernourishment is down by 75 % in Myanmar in comparison to year 2000.
  2.  Wasting and child mortality  is down by 75 % in Rawanda in comparison to year 2000.
  3.  Child Mortality and stunting  is down by 75 and 34 % in Cambodia in comparison to year 2000.
Iraq, Central African Republic , Chad, Myanmar, Rawanda either faced conflict,mass displacement or civil war or democratically ruled by Army. But , what is the reason of poor performance of largest democracy in the world -India on GHI Index??  Literally, It has not faced any war in last 17 years or civil unrest , conflict.. There is no doubt that India is best performing economy of the world. Current Growth rate is approximately 7 percent. Purchasing power Parity of India has improved over the years but It  is still lagging behind in comparison to China and USA. But there are "ifs" and "buts". There is huge potential in the country .But it still faces developmental challenges. Cast-ism   is compounded by by the emergence of new  inequalities of wealth stemming from India’s economic success. Fraud, bribery, political corruption and nepotism are big challenge to vast country like India.

India is one of the world’s largest agricultural producers of staple crops, fruits, horticulture, and dairy. Employment in Agriculture is 48.9% of the workforce, yet Contribution of Agriculture in GDP has reduced to 17.4 %(2014-15). India’s cereal yields ((2961.6 kg per ha)are drastically lower than those of developed regions such as North America (6671 kg per ha), East Asia and the Pacific (5,184 kg per ha), and the Euro area (5855.4 kg per ha). Climate change has added to the enormity of India’s food security challenges.It impacts crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and  cause grave social and economic consequences in the form of reduced incomes, eroded livelihoods, trade disruption and adverse health impacts. However, it is important to note that the net impact of climate change depends not only on the extent of the climatic shock but also on the underlying vulnerabilities.The impact of climate change on water availability  particularly severe for India because large parts of the country already suffer from water scarcity, to begin with, and largely depend on groundwater for irrigation.The regions with high food insecurity and inequality, have increased frequency of droughts and floods ,affecting children more, given their vulnerability.  

If India  wants to be a superpower, It has to take transformative plan of action as follows:
  1.  To Integrate  Zero Hunger in National Plan  with indicators, targets and timeline.
  2. To work with finance and planning ministries to fulfill requirement of budget towards zero hunger in the country.
  3. To Prioritize Policy with Sustainable development goals .
  4. Coordination across the sector such as Health, Agriculture,  Education, Nutrition , WASH and Social Protection to fulfill the goal of zero hunger in the country.
After seven decade of independence of India, there are  194.6 million  people  hungry, that God still  appear to them except in the form of bread. India has failed to achieve MDG and WSF target in past, Hopefully, It shall achieve SDG target in time.