Global Hunger Index: Govt Living In Denial

Global Hunger Index: Govt Living In Denial

  • By Abhirr VP
  • 18 Oct, 2021

Government Living In Denial As Malnourished Children Increase In India.

18 OCTOBER 2021| The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 data which states that India dropped on the hunger-level ranks by seven spots to the 101st spot unfortunately reflects the reality of the country where hunger accentuated since the COVID-19 pandemic, said Oxfam India today.

“This trend of undernutrition in India is unfortunately not new, is actually based on the government’s own National Family Health Survey (NHFS) data. The data shows that between 2015 and 2019, a large number of Indian states actually ended up reversing the gains made on child nutrition parameters. This loss of nutrition should be of concern because it has intergenerational effects, to put it simply - the latest data shows that in several parts of India, children born between 2015 and 2019 are more malnourished than the previous generation” said Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India.

The Union budget this year discussed India’s POSHAN (Prime Minister's Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment scheme) with “increased” allocations to POSHAN 2.0, however the POSHAN Abhiyaan that was launched in 2017 to improve nutrition among children, pregnant women and lactating mothers has languished due to poor funding resulting from clever clubbing with other schemes within the health-budget and even worse implementation.  Only 0.57% of the current budget has been allocated toward funding the actual POSHAN scheme and the amount for child nutrition dropped by a whopping 18.5% compared to 2020-21.  

"There are massive negative consequences to not arresting high levels of malnutrition. In India, both our adult population and our children are at risk. For instance, the BMI of a quarter of our (teenage and middle aged) women is below the standard global norm, more than half of our women suffer from anaemia. A quarter of our (teenage and middle-aged) men also show signs of iron and calcium deficiencies as per the latest round of NHFS data", said Varna Sri Raman, Lead, Research and Knowledge Building at Oxfam India. 

“It is estimated by independent researchers that India loses up to 4% of its gross domestic product and 8% of its productivity due to child malnutrition alone. Oxfam India is urgently calling upon the government to start talking about solutions. Oxfam India believes that issues of nutrition are intimately tied with issues of public health, food choices, availability, access limited by caste and class, education and more. At the centre of India’s food security and nutrition crisis is low priority and poor policy that does not look at the long-term consequences of where we are headed. This policy must change right now and we must collectively address one of the biggest challenges facing the country”, said Amitabh Behar.

About Oxfam India

Oxfam India is a movement of people working to end discrimination and create a free and just society. We work to ensure that Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims, and women and girls have safe violence-free lives with freedom to speak their mind, equal opportunities to realize their rights, and a discrimination-free future.

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