Resource centre on India's rural distress

A Budget that fails to address the hunger pandemic -Dipa Sinha

-The Hindu

In a year of economic slowdown and growing inequality, we have been presented with a stingy Budget that fails to ensure the bare necessities for all

While the country continues to grapple with the health and economic crisis as a result of COVID-19, widespread hunger and food insecurity is a silent emergency that has not been getting sufficient attention. Unfortunately, the Union Budget also does not include any significant measures to address this.

The partial National Family Health Survey-5 results released recently showed that child malnutrition levels in 2019 were higher than in 2016 in most States. The fall in incomes witnessed by most poor and working-class households in the last one year would have made this situation even worse. Recent field surveys conducted by Hunger Watch and the Azim Premji University between October 2020 and December 2020 found that for two-thirds of the respondents, food intake was still not back to pre-lockdown levels. Malnutrition has multiple determinants with access to food, health and care being the immediate. A global pandemic and an economic slowdown, which has come on the back of years of jobless growth and stagnant rural wages, has hit household food security hard. Data show that even before COVID-19, nutritious diets for most Indians were unaffordable.

Please click here to read more.