From Down to Earth: GDP does not reveal the ground truth about progress in development. The top 10% of Indians control the wealth basket while the common people—more than one billion—slide down along ‘Hunger Index’. While the government flaunts a surging economy, prevalence of hunger in India is at the “high end of serious category”.
At the start of the millennium 17 years ago, the United Nations declared a set of eight Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) to achieve by 2015. Considering the inability to achieve within targeted dateline, UN later expanded and modified the goals to a total of 17 to be achieved by 2030 and called them Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The first two of these goals, featured in both MDGs and SDGs, are removal of hunger and poverty. India, now being considered as one of the foremost emerging economies, pledged to work towards all the goals.
However, the annual Global Hunger Index calculated by the International Food Policy Research Institute, has put India at the 100th place among 119 countries in its recent estimation released on October 12. In the past three years, India has recorded a fall of 55 points, revealing the wide gaps between rhetoric, promises and action.
Our neighbouring countries, like Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Sri Lanka (84) and Bangladesh (88) have better ranks on the hunger index. Only Pakistan (106) and Afghanistan (107) rank below India.
While the government flaunts a surging economy, prevalence of hunger in India is at the “high end of serious category”.
This shows that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) does not reveal the ground truth about progress in development. The top 10 per cent of Indians control the wealth basket while the common people—more than one billion—slide down along ‘Hunger Index’.
India is committed to achieve SDGs, with special focus on ending poverty. If poverty can be removed, hunger will not be there. Poor people die hungry. Obviously, malnourishment comes from inability to procure food because of the lack of money. India remains a country of constraint with one of the highest numbers of billionaires and one of the highest numbers of hungry people.
We are witnessing a jobless growth. Poverty will logically increase with joblessness and lead to more hunger in the vast rural and semi-urban landscape. According to Forbes Magazine, India has 101 billionaires in 2017 but obviously, benefit of having wealth in the hand of 101 out of 1.2 billion people will never offer a better quality of life to the poor and hungry.
Rhetoric is good to hear but we need action to remove poverty and hunger.
Forget the Ease of Doing Business, India needs to focus on issues of hunger and poverty first
Mohan Guruswamy, Scroll.in
The country’s abysmal track record at ensuring basic levels of nutrition is the greatest contributor to its poverty as measured by the new international Multi-dimensional Poverty Index. About 645 million people (55% of India’s population) are poor, according to this composite indicator made up of ten markers of education, health and standard of living achievement levels. The data also shows that even in states generally perceived as prosperous, such as Haryana, Gujarat and Karnataka, more than 40% of the population is poor by the new composite measure, while Kerala is the only state in which the poor constitute less than 20%.
Hunger, Starvation and Aadhaar
Himanshu, Live Mint
The administrative machinery is not only violating the NFSA, which has been enacted by Parliament but is also leading to a situation where needy households have been discouraged from accessing the basic services that is legitimately due to them. On every such instance, the official reaction has been one of denial rather than acknowledging the pitfalls of such bureaucratic adventures. The current instance of hunger and starvation deaths is a clear case of an insensitive administration using Aadhaar to deny benefits to the citizens. Above all, it is a clear reflection of the political priorities of the governments. For the government, life of a human being is certainly less important than a 12-digit number.
The grave environmental cost of ‘ease of doing business’
Ishan Kukreti, Down to Earth
India has just climbed an unprecedented 30 spots on the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” ranking, which’s being celebrated as a historic moment by the mainstream media. This Down to Earth report shows how this ‘achievement’ has come at a possibly permanent damage to the environment, thanks to a steady dilution of regulatory norms.
New report ranks India near the bottom of the global heap on inequality
India ranks 132nd out of 152 countries on a new index that measures the commitment by a country towards reducing inequality. The index is composed of 21 data points with varying weights; including health and education, share of tax revenue in the GDP, share of tax exemptions, minimum wage and maternity benefits.