Can a stunted population drive development?

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published Published on Oct 20, 2020   modified Modified on Oct 20, 2020

-The New Indian Express

As for our media, it’s more interested in a Bihar-born actor, his girlfriend and her brother.

So India is in the ‘serious’ category on the Global Hunger Index. No surprises there. There’s dismal relief only in the fact that 94th out of 107 countries is a notch better than previous years—a slow, dispiriting crawl, and below our entire neighbourhood. Bangladesh, Myanmar and Pakistan, though also in GHI 2020’s ‘serious’ bracket, have done better than India—at ranks 75, 78 and 88. Sri Lanka and Nepal are in the ‘moderate’ zone.

India, heartbreakingly, has the world’s highest ratio of malnourished children under age five … a steady decline since 2015. One shudders to think what the pandemic and food inflation would have done to the figures—which is to say, to millions of adult and young Indians. Criminally, India has no shortage of food. All the ballyhoo about ‘targeted’ welfare— supplying cereals via a biometric-based PDS—clearly seems to be achieving the opposite of what’s intended. Too many Indian women (including pregnant women) and children are obviously not getting adequate protein, fat and cereals. All of which should be made available at nominal prices, come what may, to ensure that 14% of India is not undernourished, that 37.4% of our children under five are not stunted. Not much guessing to do on where people are worst off: Bihar, UP, Madhya Pradesh, Jhakhand.

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The New Indian Express, 20 October, 2020,

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