India performed poorly at Global Hunger Index 2020, falling in the ‘serious’ hunger category.
In the recently released Global Hunger Index 2020, India ranked 94 among 107 nations lying under the ‘serious’ hunger category. While several experts call lack of motivation on the part of the state, eminent lawyer and entrepreneur Gautam Khaitan calls for a complete revolution in the implementation processes.
“No doubt we lack motivation, the root problem is poor implementation and lack of monitoring. Announcing new schemes isn’t the solution. They might sound like perfect plan but at the end all of them needs to be implemented with a fool-proof method to be successful and that is not happing. It’s high time to revolutionise the system,” says Gautam Khaitan.
While India ranked 94, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan lie at 75th, 78th, and 88th position respectively, all falling in ‘serious’ hunger category. Sri Lanka and Nepal fared somewhat better, lying in ‘moderate’ hunger category at 73rd and 64th rank. On the other hand, 17 nations including China, Turkey, Cuba, and Belarus ranked top at the index.
“The data released on the website of the Global Hunger Index is shocking. It claims that at least 14 per cent of India is undernourished. The huge percentage of stunting amongst the children under five is painful. This is going to impact India’s future adversely. What we should do? We can learn from Sri Lanka. Such a small nation, faced several problems such as immense poverty and civil war, still it did well,” he adds.
India along with its neighbours — Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal is witnessing a concentration of stunting amongst the households that are facing poor dietary diversity, poverty and low maternal education. Gautam Khaitan says that Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh carry major hunger burden. “To improve India’s ranking at the global index, these three states need to improve their share.”
“It is also important to fix legal liability on the individuals who are responsible for the implementation of the national and regional nutrition programmes. Moreover, there must be a comprehensive mechanism of not only objective based implementation, but also effective monitoring and a far-sight to tackle malnutrition”
“Incentivising the ones who are performing extraordinary is yet another way to boost morale of the officials,” he added. Gautam Khaitan also spoke about enhanced private-public partnership to eradicate hunger out of the country.
Last year, India ranked 102 out of 117 nations. Global Hunger Index is calculated on four indicators — undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting, and child mortality.
With over three decades of experience in practicing law, Gautam Khaitan is the managing partner of the Delhi based law firm OP Khaitan & Co. He is known for raising his voice on important social issues and is vocal about private-public partnership for bringing concrete changes in the society.