The Daily Telegraph
October 16, 2008
by: Rahul Bedi in New Delhi
INDIA has more malnourished people than any other country in the world despite the giant country’s emergence as a major economic power.
The Global Hunger Index for 2008 found that 200 million Indians go hungry. Food shortages in one state , Madhya Pradesh , were so serious that they compared with conditions in Ethiopia and Chad.
The survey ranked India 66th out 88 countries on the Global Hunger Index , taking into account three vital indicators: child malnutrition , rates of child mortality and the calorie deficient population.
"Despite years of robust economic growth , India scored worse than nearly 25 sub-Saharan African countries and all of South Asia , except Bangladesh ,” the report said.
Experts believe that India’s abysmal record , despite self-sufficiency in food grains , is due to corrupt and bureaucratic distribution policies and poor childcare.
The recent rise in global food prices had worsened the situation by harming many poor families. Moreover , India‘s lower castes and ethnic minorities are often discriminated against , pushing them further into poverty and starvation.
Since 2002 , India has enjoyed average annual economic growth of around eight per cent , buoyed by a robust stock market , rising industrial output and high property prices. This has raised India’s standing in the world and given the country far more international influence. Manmohan Singh , the prime minister , is now seeking permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
But the gains from economic success have made no difference to the vast majority of India’s 1.2 billion people. More than three quarters of them live on only 30 pence a day. They remain dependent on subsistence agriculture in a country which becomes more densely populated with every passing year. This places great pressure on the land , making it far harder for farmers to grow the food they need to