Skip to main content

Dalits, Adivasis disproportionately affected by poverty, pushing India's Global Hunger Index to 97th rank: Report

Undernourished population (%) among BRICS nations
By Rajiv Shah
An India case study, supplementing the report “2016 Global Hunger Index (GHI)”, which ranks India 97th in GHI among 118 countries, has regretted that “by contrast, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, all of whom share the BRICS high table with India, have a single-digit score” in undernourishment.
While the 2016 GHI report has been prepared by  prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the case study has been published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
Worse, the case study says, “India’s neighbours, including Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, have better GHI scores as well.” The GHI report shows, Bangladesh ranks 90th, Sri Lanka 84th, Myanmar 75th, and Nepal 72nd.
“Although the country has managed to reduce instances of stunting among children by nearly half in the past decade compared to the previous one, India remains home to one-third of the world´s stunted children. It therefore falls into the ‘serious’ category in this year’s GHI”, the case study notes.
Pointing out that rainfed agriculture supports nearly 40% of India’s population, the case study notes, “These farmers are highly sensitive to drought, which can cause crops to fail and lead to spiralling debt.”
“In total, 22% of its population lives below the poverty line”, the case study says, adding, “At the same time, it is home to 84 of the world’s billionaires. India’s top 1% own more than 50% of the country’s wealth.”
“It is the world’s second largest food producer and yet is also home to the second-highest population of undernourished people in the world”, the case study points out.
Referring to the recent National Food Security Act (NFSA) in 2013, a law seeking to “provide for food and nutritional security by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity”, the case study says, it has “changed the nature of discourse on food, making it a human right and putting the onus on the state to guarantee basic entitlements.”
Under five mortality rate (%) among BRICS nations
“However”, wonders the case study, “the question is whether the quality of life has actually improved for everyone… ", adding, the system has altered the food habits of large sections, making them “dependent on rice and wheat and eliminated traditional diet diversity, thereby reducing the micronutrient content of the food on their plates.”
Those who have suffering the most, the case study says, are “the poorest people in India”, especially those who belong to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes – “traditionally oppressed classes for whom the Indian constitution provides special affirmative provisions to promote and protect their social, educational and economic interests.”
“Dalits and Adivasis are overproportionally affected by poverty”, it says, adding, “47% of the rural tribal population lives below the national poverty line, compared to the national average for rural areas of 28%.”
“The level of poverty and food and nutrition insecurity of the tribal people continues to be a major issue, despite the affirmative action put in place by the architects of India’s Constitution for their protection and welfare”, the case study says.
In case, the case study notes, “The Adivasis have borne witness to the appropriation of their lands, destruction of their environment and commoditisation of their traditional knowledge – a lopsided bargain which has come at the cost of their way of life and well-being, beginning with their health and the security of resources for future generations.”
“Safeguards such as informed consent have been thrown to the winds in the rush to acquire and trade forest produce and land on a large scale”, it further points out, adding, “Covering 11 states, it shows that every second Adivasi child is stunted, 68% of Adivasi mothers are less than 20 years old, 48% are undernourished and 76% are anaemic.”
The case study says, “The risk of severe stunting is nearly twice as high among girls aged 6-23 months compared to boys. This may be due to food distribution practices within households and gender discrimination, resulting in woman receiving less food or men being served the best portions.”

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Social workers, architects, students, historians, common people come together, protest "politics" of renaming Ahmedabad

By Nandini Oza*
No sooner did the BJP leaders of Gujarat announce the intention of changing the name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati just before Diwali, on November 7, 2018, many people’s mood changed from festivity to heated debate and furor across the state. For many of us, an online petition, initiated by Bandish Soparkar, on change.org protesting name change came to immediate rescue.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”