Skip to main content

India's hunger index rank: Whither pro-Modi economist Panagariya's percolation theory?

By Rajiv Shah 
Following the news that India ranks 94th among 107 nations in Global Hunger Index (GHI), I got interested in the study, a joint exercise by institutes in Ireland and Germany (Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe). Scanning through the report, I found that it does not take into account the serious situation arising in India (or for that matter in other countries) because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It admits, “While the 2020 GHI does not yet reflect the impacts of Covid-19, it shows that the situation is already worrying in many contexts and is likely to worsen in the years to come.”
Indeed, India requires special scrutiny as lakhs, perhaps crores (Government of India has no data), migrated from top metropolitan cities to their respective towns and villages out of sheer desperation because of the unplanned lockdown, which led to major issues vis-a-vis food security, one of the three major dimensions (inadequate food supply leading to undernourishment) analysed while working out GHI, the other two being child mortality and child undernourishment.
India’s ranking is poor even though, to quote from the study, “Despite declines in recent years, child mortality in South Asia is still unacceptably high, with improvements in child nutrition needed. The mortality rate of children under age five in South Asia as of 2018 was 4.1 percent, compared with 9.2 percent in 2000. India – the region’s most populous country – experienced a decline in under-five mortality in this period, driven largely by decreases in deaths from birth asphyxia or trauma, neonatal infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea.”
The report also regrets, “However, child mortality caused by prematurity and low birthweight increased, particularly in poorer states and rural areas. Prevention of prematurity and low birthweight is identified as a key factor with the potential to reduce under-five mortality in India, through actions such as better antenatal care, education, and nutrition as well as reductions in anemia and oral tobacco use.” 
The report no doubt suggests that the neighbouring Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan too, like India, are in the 'serious' category, but all of them ranked higher than India in this year's hunger index. While Bangladesh ranked 75, Myanmar and Pakistan are in the 78th and 88th position. Nepal is ranked 73rd and Sri Lanka 64th. As for China, it ranks among the five top countries of the world! 
Scanning through the India part of the score, one finds that the hunger index of India was 38.9 (on a scale of 100) in the year 2000, hunger index went down to 37.5 in 2006; it went down further to 29.3 in 2012; and now, in 2020 (sans Covid impact) it is 27.2, a very little “improvement” over the last eight years – a direct commentary on the Modi government’s much criticised view that economic growth would automatically lead to reduced poverty – the well-known percolation theory of Columbia University’s pro-Modi economist Arvind Panagariya.

Comments

TRENDING

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Pellet gun fire severely injures Dalit worker off Bangladesh border

By Kirity Roy*  This is regarding an incident of firing pellets by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel attached with Panchadoji Border Outpost of ‘E’ Company of 90 BSF Battalion on a Schedule Caste youth of village Parmananda under Dinhata Police Station of Cooch Behar district of West Bengal. The victim was severely injured and one portion of his face became disfigured due to pellet firing by the BSF.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.