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Source: The post is based on the article “Global Hunger Index: Menace of malnutrition continues to haunt India” published in the Business Standard on 19th October 2022.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.
Relevance: About the Global Hunger Index, 2022 and the menace of malnutrition.
News: The poor ranking of India on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) and the government’s refusal have become almost an annual ritual over the past few years. But the government has to work on reducing malnutrition in India.
About the recent Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022
|Read here: Global Hunger Index is out, India in ‘serious’ category at rank 107|
This year, India ranked lowly at 107 among 121 countries. Last year, India was ranked 101 out of 116 countries, while in 2020 it was slotted at 94th position.
Why did India discount the GHI findings?
What is the menace of malnutrition in India?
India has the world’s largest food distribution system and a slew of nutrition-oriented welfare schemes for supplying highly subsidised or free food to vulnerable sections of the population. But despite that malnutrition is still rampant in the country. This is because,
a) Schemes such as mid-day meal scheme and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana have banished stark hunger, as used to be reflected in starvation deaths in the past, and reduction in the level of undernourishment. But, they did not focus on malnutrition.
b) None of the existing schemes focuses on the basic need for balanced and wholesome food, which alone can alleviate malnutrition or hidden hunger.
c) The prevalence of nutritional deficiencies and the resultant wasting and stunting (impaired growth) of kids are mentioned in the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), whose authenticity is unquestionable.
For instance, 1) NFHS-5 have shown that though the level of undernourishment and malnourishment has shown a downward trend over the past few years, it is still a matter of grave concern, 2) The incidence of anaemia among under-five children has escalated from 58.6 per cent to 67 per cent since 2015-16, 3) The proportion of overweight children has surged from 2.1 per cent to 3.4 per cent since 2015-16.
What needs to be done to reduce the menace of malnutrition in India?
The menace of malnutrition should no longer be taken lightly and needs serious corrective action aimed at improving the consumption of diverse and nutritious foods like millet, fruit, vegetables, and protein-rich vegetarian and non-vegetarian products.