As per the latest published rankings in the Global Hunger Index, India has been able to improve its position from 63 to 55. However, combating hunger and ensuring sufficient food for all still remains a challenge that the Indian Government finds itself woefully short of accomplishing. India still has frighteningly-high rates of mortality and undernourishment. Following are a few startling facts about the generally-abysmal conditions of food and hunger issues in India.
Hunger and malnutrition facts
One-sixth of India’s population is described as undernourished and 190 million people in the country go hungry on a daily basis. 30.7% of the children in India, younger than five years old, are underweight. 58% of children in India do not grow adequately before they turn two years. 25% children in India suffer from malnutrition. Each day, in India 3000 children die on a daily basis because they do not receive sufficient and healthy food. Of all the cases of children under five years dying in the world, 24% happen in India and in case of deaths at the neonatal stage in the world, India lays claim to 30%.
Why does India go hungry?
There are several reasons as to why so many people go hungry in India and some of them have got to do with administrative apathy. The Indian government, as well as its state-level counterparts, does not have sufficient cold storage facilities and as a result almost 40% of all vegetables and fruits produced in India and 20% of the food grains rot and never reach the market. This forces the sellers to raise the prices and put it beyond the reach of most. The below poverty line (BPL) families spend 70% of their income on food. In case of families that are above poverty line (APL) the amount goes up to 50%.
The working class people in the urban areas spend 30% of their income on food. The fact that the agricultural sector is failing, owing to a combination of variety of reasons, has contributed to its lessening impact on the national GDP over the years. It has now come to a point, where the largest employer in Indian economy – it provides jobs to 50% of the people in India – is no longer a crucial part of the same.
64% of the extremely poor people are spread in five countries of Asia and Africa. India is one of the countries along with Bangladesh, China, Congo, and Nigeria. All around the world, 20,000 children die every day because of hunger-related issues. 80% of the people around the world are able to spend less than 10 dollars a day. Every night one out of nine people go hungry. 791 million hungry people belong to the developing countries of the world. 13.5% people in developing countries suffer from chronic undernourishment. In Asia, 526 million people are always hungry. This makes it the numero uno in that regard. All around the world, 45% of the children die owing to inadequate nutrition. When judged on a global basis, there is 20% likelihood that underweight babies will die before they reach the age of five.
What needs to be done?
First of all, it is the responsibility of the government to come forward and ensure that not a single morsel is wasted anymore because of inadequate infrastructural facilities. It needs to make sure that these poor people have work opportunities aplenty and that they are not cheated out of their money by the intermediaries entrusted with the job of paying them. However, there are several things that need to be done over the longer term. For starters, people in disadvantaged sections of Indian society need to be educated about the virtues of a dignified and savings-oriented life. They need to be made to understand that just because they are exploited each day in life they should not take recourse to alcohol or other ills in order to stave off their worries. Life is a hard grind for all and they are not the only ones with problems in life. After all, the government cannot do anything for you if you do not take control of your life and be responsible in everything in all your actions and decisions.
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