New Delhi: The tales of shining India moving ahead on the path of glory and prosperity have proved to be an illusion, as the recent Human Development Report has put forth a terrible picture of the poverty-stricken and hungry India. With the government focusing on increasing growth rate, the ground reality in India has been astonishingly opposite regarding hunger and malnutrition.

Even the most flourishing states like Gujarat, Punjab and Kerala carve a sorry picture on the hunger index. The report has been an eye-opener for the developing India which seems to have lost the commitment to eradicate hunger from its soil.

According to the government, a person living in a rural area needs 2400 calories per day while 2100 calories are sufficient in a city. The poverty standard specified by the Planning Commission also specifies the same criteria. But the report reveals that 81 percent rural and 57 percent of city dwellers do not even consume the minimum amount of food.

Moreover, the malnutrition is not just common among children but about one third of adults in the country also come under the same category with their weight less than the set standard (body mass index- 18.5).

The condition is pitiable among children below 5 years of age as 46 percent of them are malnourished. The cases of malnourished children in Punjab, Mizoram, Manipur, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are similar to Africa’s poorest desert nations.

According to the Human Development report, the minimum hunger index is 9.9 and is based on three standards. To know the hunger situation in a state, the average calorie consumption of a citizen, malnutrition in children below 5 years and child death rate below 5 years of age are taken into consideration.

The most developed state Gujarat excelling in every field is on the 13th slot of the hunger index with 24.70 percent points and is included in the top five states most affected from hunger.

The situation is worse in Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand while Madhya Pradesh is included in the category of the most serious state.

Maharashtra, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are also reeling under acute hunger. While 28 percent population in Karnataka and Kerala is malnourished, the child death rate is 9 percent in Uttar Pradesh and 5.2 percent in Punjab.

Underlining the lack of foodgrain availability and no increase in consumption of non-grain food items, the report states that the India has so far failed to deal with the basic challenge of hunger thereby affecting the whole model of inclusive growth. 

  
JPN/Bureau