Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to measure and track hunger on global, national and regional levels. GHI aims to create awareness and act against hunger by reducing it globally.

GHI uses four key indicators viz; Undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality. Based on these indicators, the GHI assesses the level of hunger in a country on a 100 point scale. A scale of 100 is the worst (extreme hunger). A scale of 0 is the best (low or no hunger).

The 2021 GHI report launched on October 24 2021 stated that India with a score of 27.5 faces hunger that is ‘serious’. A score of 27.5 ranked India 101st among 116 countries. India is ranked behind Pakistan (92nd rank), Bangladesh (76th rank), and Nepal (76th rank).

Only 15 countries ranked worse than India. These are Papua New Guinea (102), Afghanistan (103), Nigeria (103), Congo (105), Mozambique (106), Sierra Leone (106), Timor-Leste (108), Haiti (109), Liberia (110), Madagascar (111), Democratic Republic of Congo (112), Chad (113), Central African Republic (114), Yemen (115), and Somalia (116).      

As per this report, Somalia with a score of 50.8 points faces extremely alarming levels of hunger.  Other 5 countries with alarming levels of hunger are Yemen, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and the Central African Republic. 31 countries including India show ‘serious levels of hunger’.

Reacting to the dismal hunger figures, the central government did much better than the usual practice of adopting an ‘ostrich in the sand’ approach when unfavorable report cards are flashed at it. The centre chose to speak out this time. Only to condemn the unfavorable report. The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development rubbished the report by claiming ‘scientific measurement of undernourishment would require measurement of weight and height. Whereas the methodology adopted here is based on gallop poll based on telephonic estimate of the population’.

It also accused the authors of completely disregarding the government’s massive effort to ensure food security during the Covid period’. Countering the Indian government’s accusation, the German NGO WHH persisted that data collection wasn’t based on a gallop opinion poll, but had used the data presented by the Indian government to the UN to arrive at its GHI report.

 A ‘seriously hungry’ nation like India, instead of exploring ways to mend her ways seeking to feed her hungry millions, has instead chosen to do a ‘Nero playing the lyre as Rome burnt’ act. Huge amounts of precious money which belong to the exchequer were wasted to finance gargantuan projects that have absolutely no bearing in satiating the hunger of her impoverished citizenry. This, at a time when the country’s economy’s back is broken by the ongoing pandemic. These projects have only contributed to furthering the ego, adamancy, megalomania and showmanship of the present ruling disposition, particularly of the person who heads it.

The following are the mega projects that the central government chose to fund turning a deaf ear to the grumbling empty stomachs of millions of Indians.

  • The Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is supposed to be completed in three years, is estimated to exceed Rs. 1,100 crore. ‘The main temple will be built in three to three and a half years, and will cost 300-400 crores. The expenditure for the development of the entire 70 acre land will exceed Rs. 1,100 crore’, according to Swami Govind Dev Giri maharaj, treasurer of Ram jamnabhoomi Tirath kshetra Nyas.
  • The centre splurged more than Rs. 2.64 crore on media advertisement for the inaugural of Sardar vallabhai Patel’s statue- the Statue of Unity, according to a RTI reply. Currently the world’s tallest statue measuring 182 meters built at an estimated cost of 2,989 crore would certainly have fed millions of hungry stomachs instead.
  • The Parliament building is being reconstructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 862 crore and the Central Vista Avenue at Rs. 477 crore. The citizens are lost on the need and urgency for refurbishing the Parliament and the Avenue when the country is passing through severe Covid-induced financial crunch.  
  • India’s much-negotiated deal with France for 36 fighter jets is final- the country will buy the French-made Rafale jets for 8.8 billion dollars.

Priority, they say, represents a government’s intension if any to govern adeptly. For the Modi government, bolstering defense capabilities of the country takes precedence over feeding her people.  

Splurging when thousands of hands, which are but mere skin and bone are being stretched out in numerous junctions and signal posts along India’s highways and on railway platforms for alms to purchase scarce food is nothing but criminal. No Gods will ever be pleased to have temples built for them when jaded mortals roam around those gargantuan structures begging for money to satiate their hunger. A country whose fighter jets are left to defend undernourished millions within her borders has nothing to be proud of.  There’s no greater hypocrisy than dwarfed leaders of today constructing world’s tallest statue for a tall leader like Sardar Patel, the architect of unified India when they simultaneously indulge in tearing asunder the nation along communal creases.