Undernourishment is rising India’s hidden underbelly

India’s economic growth trajectory is impressive, but it still has the world’s second highest number of undernourished people and volatile food commodities prices only impact the poorest the most, the government said.

It said in its Economic Survey that India needs to focus on timely, uninterrupted and affordable supplies to provide food security to the poor in the current agriculture scenario.

“Though India’s GDP growth has been impressive and the agricultural production has also increased over the past few decades, hunger and starvation still persist among the poorer section of the population,” the Survey said, adding that while inflation has moderated in the past two years more needs to be achieved by freeing up markets, augmenting supply of food and leveraging the use of information technology.

India has the second highest number of undernourished people at 194.6 million person, which warrants immediate attention. Moreover, with 27 per cent of the population below the poverty line, the rise in prices of food impacts the poor adversely, with a greater proportion of their household incomes being spent on food. Therefore, along with provision of food subsidy, stability in agricultural commodity prices is essential for making poorer sections food secure, the Survey said.

“There is a strong correlation between stability in agricultural production and food security. Volatility in agricultural production impacts food supplies and can result in spikes in food prices, which adversely affect the lowest income of the population,” it added.



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