India and the GHI


The Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranks countries on the basis of four key parameters: child mortality, child wasting, child stunting and undernourishment. In 2018, out of 119 countries, India was ranked at the 103rd position; according to the sources, India has a ‘serious’ hunger problem- lagging behind countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even North Korea.

What goes wrong in a country which is the second highest food producer in the world? What makes us the world’s second highest population of under-nourished people in the world? It is obvious, that a high GDP growth is not sufficient to guarantee food and nutrition to the entire populace of our country. Before trying to analyze the potential causes, it is quintessential to comprehend the basics of it first- Overpopulation or Population Explosion. It’s a barrier that is certainly not easy to overcome and leads to more problems than you could possibly imagine. In fact, Overpopulation is the root cause of a multiple number of problems within an economy. It makes the task of solving the hunger-problem in India, all the more difficult.

Why is the Hunger Problem So Difficult to Solve?

Failures to invest in the agricultural sector is one of the leading causes of India’s hunger-problem. We are, primarily, an agriculture-based economy and even though we’re on the track of migrating to a manufacturing economy, let’s not forget that over 40% of our populace is yet dependent on agriculture as means of livelihood and survival. Because of our constant rise in population, the average farm size has been on the decline. Lending support to small farms and failure of food schemes have contributed to the problem. The sheer vastness of the population, too, sometimes makes it difficult for the ‘trickle-down’ to happen. The causes are manifold. India has innumerous NGO’s working for the betterment of the society. However, a lot of the problem has to do with traditional norms and practices followed in society that are definitely harder to change. And then, there is the problem of poverty- the issue of low incomes. More often than not, the rural population is unable to feed their families owing to their low earnings.

The proportion of malnourished women and children in India is alarming, to say the least. Lack of knowledge on good feeding practices, improper sanitation facilities leading to widespread diseases to children having low weight when born- all contribute to our issue at hand.

What Can Be Done?

For starters, we must make sure that the Food Security Act is implemented properly. The government must make sure that every Indian has access to basic cereals and pulses including sufficient knowledge around nutrition; efforts must be taken in order to provide good primary healthcare facilities, especially in the rural areas. Schemes must be executed with best efforts.

Special efforts must be taken to organize awareness programs- for people to realize that overpopulation can do no good to our society; especially in rural India where sex is the only recreational activity, it is of utmost importance to make our citizens aware of the ill-effects of having a population size which we cannot feed. The government can collaborate with NGO’s in this matter and hopefully, it’ll provide us with a favorable outcome. A Universal Basic Income scheme should be worked upon and put in use in case it meets all the requirements- it surely will provide aid to the rural population.

Food is a luxury to people who cannot afford it and ideally, it should NEVER be that way.

Srideep Das
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Srideep has worked with Dr. Duke Ghosh at Global Change Research, on various projects including the Smart Cities Mission India. He has also worked with Dr. Luisa Cortesi (Yale University) during her research in India. Currently, he’s an International Master in Business student at SDA Bocconi. He is an Economics enthusiast.

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