In search of solution for India’s chronically undernourished children: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan & Telangana

India’s ambitious ‘Zero Hunger’ program will be launched in three districts – Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Koraput in Odisha and Thane in Maharashtra on October 16, the World Food Day.

The Program will be initiated by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in association with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC). Zero Hunger − pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and is the priority of the World Food Programme.

Source: Current Affairs September 2017 – National
Date visited: 12 June 2018

“Hunger” and “undernutrition” amidst widening wealth disparity

In a discussion with Subhoranjan Dasgupta, Professor Patnaik, a distinguished economist from JNU, explores the widening wealth disparity and how a focus on GDP can be used to legitimise transfers to crony capitalists. […]

The MPI [Multidimensional Poverty Index]is a weighted index using criteria for a household to be considered non-poor, like access to piped water, non-thatched dwelling (which could be merely a one room hut with a metal roof), toilet; having a bank account (whether or not the balance is zero); it gives only one-sixth weight to what is misleadingly called a nutrition indicator, namely the body mass index (BMI), which does not actually measure nutritional status. Since it is a ratio (weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in metres), it can have exactly the same value for persons of normal weight and height, as for persons of the same age who are seriously undernourished and stunted. Even the latter, therefore, would not be considered poor. […]

The last half-century of colonial rule had seen an immense increase in nutritional poverty in British India, which was reversed, though not fully, by strenuous efforts of the post-independence governments prior to the introduction of neo-liberalism in the early 1990s. […] Even the National Family Health Survey, whose data are used by the MPI, shows that the prevalence of anaemia among women aged 15-49 rose from 53% in 2015-16 to 58% in 2019-21. Hunger and undernutrition are stalking the country. India today is worse placed than both Sub-Saharan Africa and the “Least Developed Countries”.

Source: ‘Hunger, Undernutrition Stalking India; Placed Worse Than Least Developed Nations’: Prabhat Patnaik by Subhoranjan Dasgupta, The Wire, 19 January 2024
Date Visited: 21 January 2024

More than 250 million Indians remain food insecure, ingesting less than 2,100 calories every day

Varun Gandhi, Hindustani Times, 20 April 2018
The stories from India’s hinterland on hunger are woeful in themselves. […]

More than 14.5% of our population is considered as undernourished, says the Global Hunger Index, 2017, with 21% children suffering from acute malnutrition, while 38.4% of children under the age of five suffer from stunting. This is reflected in the height of our children (children born in India are on average shorter than those in sub-Saharan Africa). More than 250 million Indians remain food insecure, ingesting less than 2,100 calories every day. As the Planning Commission put it in the Human Development Report, 2012: “If India is not in a state of famine, it is quite clearly in a state of chronic hunger.”

Source: Fighting hunger is India’s greatest challenge
Date visited: 7 October 2018

“The tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious”
The tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious, including maize, minor millets like kodo and kutki, oil seeds like ramtila, along with fruits, leaves, ­rhizomes, mushrooms, meat and fish […] We have pushed them out of their complementary relationship with ecology, way of life and time-tested nutrition. | Learn more >>

Forest Lanterns

India has over 11 million tribal children, and 4.9 million of them are chronically undernourished. Forest Lanterns is a collection of invited essays on forty-six solutions from solution seekers working on the ground to improve the nutrition of tribal children from nine states (Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana) in India. With contributions from the who’s who of policymakers, bureaucrats, practitioners and experts, the essays conclude with key takeaways for doers for replicating or scaling-up these change initiatives.

Source: Forest Lanterns
Date visited: 12 June 2018

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