Sujalam, Suphalam*…and yet…
Here is a grim and sad reminder of Bharat’s under-development and how poor governance, bad policies and corruption have conspired to turn a land praised by Bankim Chandra as “सुजलां सुफलां...” into a country with “alarming” levels of hunger.
- India ranks 66 out of 88 countries on the 2008 Global Hunger Index (GHI).
- India is home to the world’s largest food insecure population, with more than 200 million people who are hungry.
- All Indian states have at least a “serious” level of hunger; there is not a single state with low or even moderate levels.
- Twelve states fall into the “alarming” category and one (Madhya Pradesh) is considered to have an “extremely alarming” level of hunger.
As the report notes, economic development has not necessarily translated into lower hunger levels and reduction in malnutrition:
…the report identified that strong economic growth does not necessarily translate into lower hunger levels. Even states with high rates of economic growth in recent years, such as Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra, have high levels of hunger, while states with relatively slower economic growth, such as Punjab, achieved a lower hunger level.
As you sit down to have your meal today, please spare a moment’s thought for these unfortunate millions…and please think how we can alleviate at least some of their pain and misery.
Here is the sobering Hunger Map, courtesy IFPRI:
You can download the full report here (413k).
* From “Vande Mataram”. Roughly translated as ”…(You are blessed with) Richness in water resources, plenty of fruits (and forest resources)”; also “…Rich with thy hurrying streams, bright with orchard gleams…”