By Binoy Viswam
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) has shattered the propaganda fanfare of the Narendra Modi government. The government along with its army of pracharaks was claiming that it has successfully resolved all the burning issues of the country. Some of the enthusiasts among them even went to the extent of preaching that Modi rule has outsmarted all the achievements of all the previous governments. On every passing day they are in search of new items of achievements. The startling revelations of the Global Hunger Index stand before them as a stumbling block on the track of bogus propaganda.
India’s ranking in the Index of Hunger is 101 out of 116 countries. In 2020 our position was 94 out of 107 countries. The GHI score considered to be the basis of the indices, India marked a decrease. It was 38.8 in last year whereas it is 27.5 in the current year. Enlisting the self-proclaimed games of Modi magic, the image-building machinery used to decorate Narendra Modi with the crown of ‘vishwaguru’, the teacher who taught the world the path of success and prosperity. Now that land of vishwaguru is the home for the maximum number of hungry human beings, many of them even starving to death.
Look at the list of the15 countries who performed worse than India — Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Congo, Chad, Yemen and Somalia. The GHI further revealed that we are performing poorer than all our neighbours in South Asia. Among those neighbours, Pakistan was ranked 92, under Bangladesh and Nepal 76 and Sri Lanka at 65. The development strategy pursued by the RSS-BJP government has been facilitating the profit-making frenzy of the super-rich while ignoring the starving vast majority among the poor. The result was the conclusive findings in the Global Hunger Index. India has found a place in the not so prestigious list of 31 countries, where hunger has been identified as ‘serious’.
At the dawn of the new century the United Nations has set forth the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) before the word. The most important among them was to achieve ‘zero hunger’ target by the year 2030. The indices in the report of GHI point to the fact that India cannot achieve this target within nine years. Any sensible government is expected to look seriously into the drawbacks and make the necessary course correction for onward journey. But the Modi government and its political mentors chose to have an entirely different approach on this serious issue. They unleashed a concerted attack on the GHI and all the parameters they adopted for the globally accepted analysis. The desperate hard core bhakts of the ruling elites questioned the authenticity of the studies and the related data comparing it with a phone-in exercise! What can they achieve by breaking the mirror that was only reflecting their amorphous face?
The GHI was relying only on the norms and data adopted by agencies like FAO, UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UNIGME), UNICEF, WHO and World Bank). The four component indicators — under nourishment, child wasting (lower weight compared to height), child stunting (lower height compared to age), child mortality (all related to children below the age of five years)are also universally accepted basic factors in hunger studies.
Moreover, the GHI was placing its confidence on Modi government for data related to child wasting and stunting, while drafting the report. The RSS-BJP elements who shout at the Global Hunger Index should go through Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey2016-18 (CNNS) report. It was published by none other than Narendra Modi government in 2019. There is no relevance for such kind of antagonistic attack from their part to the GHI, as facts cannot be overruled by the rudeness of vicious propaganda. But the fascistic arrogance of the parivar storm troopers are tuned in such a manner that they can react to any truth in this way only. That is the post truth reality of Sangh Parivar today.
Ignore their arrogance and accusations. Forget their hue and cry which are hollow. The concern for India, in the backdrop of the GHI is true and simple. The people are hungry! That is the bitter reality of 2021, when the country is heading to decisive political battles of far-reaching ramifications. They need food for their survival. No amount of promises and propaganda can quench their hunger for food and water. One nation, one ration card is yet another slogan of the Modi mold. That will not feed the hungry. Even though the government betrayed the farmers, they produced more. The harvest is good. But it is not reaching the people as it happened during the Bengal famine. Per capita food consumption in 1991 was 186.2kg. It was reduced to 177.9 kg in 2016. This is the mirror of ‘sub ka vikas’ in Modi’s India. People will never tolerate a government that throw them into the fire of hunger. (IPA Service)