The worsening hunger problem of India’s poor

Context: In October 2020, The Right to Food Campaign conducted a Hunger Watch Survey (HW-1) to analyze the effect of lockdown. Covering close to 4,000 people in 11 states, the survey highlighted the extent of widespread hunger and a deterioration in the quality of diets compared to the pre-pandemic period.

The second round of the Hunger Watch survey (HW-II) was conducted in December 2021-January 2022, following the second wave of pandemic.

Findings of the survey:

Food insecurity was widespread – 79 per cent of the overall sample reported experiencing conditions ranging from worrying about not having enough food, to not being able to eat a diet of sufficient quality or quantity, to running out of food and having to go without eating a whole day.

Situation worse in urban Areas – As 87% reported food insecurity compared to 76% in rural areas.

Availability of cereals: In HW-II only one in three households said that their consumption of cereals was sufficient for their needs. Two-thirds of households could not afford cooking gas in the month before the survey. This was higher in rural areas than urban.

Nutritional Deficiency: More than a quarter could only eat more affordable items like dark green leafy vegetables and pulses fewer than two-three times a month. The conditions were poorer in rural areas.

Other findings: Two in five respondents said that the nutritional quality of their food had worsened since the pre-pandemic period.

Way forward: There is an urgent need to acknowledge the problem of hunger and take immediate action, including allocating sufficient resources to address the issue.

Source: This post is created based on “ The worsening hunger problem of India’s poor” published in Indian Express on 25th March 2022.

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