ASIA/INDIA – Fight against poverty and hunger in India: between good results and necessary commitments


ASIA/INDIA – Fight against poverty and hunger in India: between good results and necessary commitments

Thursday, October 20, 2022

India Media Group

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) – India has lifted 415 million people out of poverty in 15 years. This is confirmed by the new UN report on the “Multidimensional Poverty Index” (MPI), which analyzes data collected between 2005 and 2021. The MPI, published jointly by the United Nations Program for Development (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), notes that India continues to have the highest number of people in the world living below the poverty line (228.9 million), followed by Nigeria (96.7 million), while the South Asia region as a whole, with its 385 million poor, follows sub-Saharan Africa, with 579 million poor. While noting that in general the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed global progress in poverty reduction, the report notes that India as a nation over a period of 15 years, on this path of reduction of poverty has achieved positive results.
In India, the report says, there are 97 million poor children (2021 data), meaning that one in five children (21.8% of the total) suffers from poverty. According to the report, India is the only country in South Asia where female-headed households are poorer than male-headed households (19.7% compared to 15.9%), while 90% of the country’s poor live in rural areas and 10% in urban areas.
Bihar remains the poorest state in the country, while the other 10 poorest states are Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, India. Arunachal Pradesh and Rajasthan (West Bengal dropped out of top 10). India’s poor remain vulnerable due to rising food and fuel prices, the UN report points out. “Policies that address the current nutrition and energy crises must be a priority. About 18.7% of India’s total population is vulnerable to poverty.
However, the report also highlights India’s successes in lifting people out of absolute poverty: among the 415 million people, one group that benefits are children and young people aged 0-17.
“India is an important case study for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the first of which is to eradicate poverty in all its forms and reduce the percentage of poor men, women and children living in poverty. ‘at least half by 2030,’ reads the UN report. .
In a scenario that shows progress but remains dire in absolute terms, the recent “Global Hunger Index 2022” (GHI) ranks India 107th out of 121 countries, the second worst position, after Afghanistan, compared to the rest of South Asian countries. . India’s score (index 29.1) places it in the “country with a serious hunger problem” category. The Global Hunger Index is an annual report published jointly by the NGOs “Concern Worldwide” and “Welthungerhilfe”, designed to comprehensively monitor hunger in the world in order to put in place actions and processes to reduce this situation of hunger. The GHI is based on the values ​​of four indicators: malnutrition, child stunting, wasting and child mortality.
On the occasion of World Food Day, October 16, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced that the number of food insecure people in the world has risen again, and that there are now 828 million people in the world who do not have access to food, as noted in the 2022 report “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World “.
In this context, various communities of the Catholic Church in India have raised the idea of ​​convening a special “Food Summit” in India, bringing together public and private actors, state institutions, civil society and religious communities. , in order to play a more active role to play in ensuring food for all.
In the diverse and varied regional situations, the Catholic Church in India, with her social and charitable works, tries to offer, on her small scale, her contribution to alleviating hunger and poverty. Among its specific nutrition initiatives, the Archdiocese of Calcutta has launched the “Food for All” initiative in collaboration with the AnnBandhu Foundation, a local non-governmental organization. The initiative plans to offer a nutritious meal six days a week to indigent people, with the broad collaboration of parish communities, religious congregations and Caritas volunteers.
The Catholic community of Calcutta wanted to make a small contribution to food security, that is to say the possibility that the poor, in the great metropolis of 4.5 million inhabitants, have the certainty of being able to feed themselves all the days and not to suffer from hunger. According to a survey by the “Right to Food” campaign, carried out by 20 Indian civil society organizations among some 3,000 vulnerable households in Kolkata, the food situation remains “critical”, with 18.7% of households suffering from hunger. and 44% needing credit to meet the basic food needs of family members. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 20/10/2022)

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