India produces more than it needs still performs poorly in Global Hunger Index. Discuss the reasons behind this paradox and measures to curb this problem.

Global Hunger Index 2021 has ranked India 101 out of 116 countries revealing an acute case of hunger.

The problem of hunger does not lie in food production as:

  • India’s wheat and rice production is consistently increasing for the last 3 years (economic survey 2021).
  • Procurement by FCI exceeds its capacity every year.
  • India is the largest producer of many fruits and vegetables like bananas, mangoes, etc. Also, India is the largest producer of pulses.

Underlying issues of hunger:

  • Inequity in food production – Food grains production is concentrated in Haryana and Punjab. Eastern states like Jharkhand and Odisha do not have access to these.
  • Socio-Economic Inequality – Poor households cannot afford costly food items.
  • Problems in PDS – The beneficiary list are not updated, and many eligibles are left out. Also, PDS is mainly focused on rice and wheat, which creates micro-nutrient deficiency.
  • Seasonal problems, as agriculture is a seasonal work.

Way forward:

  • Diversification of PDS basket to include millets and pulses.
  • Beneficiary updation in PDS.
  • Promote drought-resistant crops in dry areas and irrigation.
  • Village-based camps for early detection of malnutrition.
  • Practices like biofortification to increase the nutrient value.

Hunger in India poses a threat to its well-being. Eradication is necessary as envisaged by SDG-1.

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