Indian government must take responsibility for its shortcomings

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India is left embarrassed on the global scenario as it climbed the 102nd position among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI). In 2018, India had ranked 55 among 77 nations listed in the GHI. South Asian countries like Pakistan (94), Bangladesh (88) and Sri Lanka (66) have performed better than India.

India is one country among those 45 nations that have serious levels of hunger. The report says several countries have higher hunger levels now than in 2010, and around 45 countries are set to fail to achieve low levels of hunger by 2030.

India’s ‘child wasting rate’ (low weight for height) is extremely high at 20.8 per cent — the highest wasting rate of any country. Child stunting rate in India, 37.9 per cent, is also categorized as “very high” in terms of its public health significance. In India, just 9.6 per cent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet.

This has happened amidst reports of children being fed turmeric-rice in mid day meal under Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath-led Uttar Pradesh government. Children of the primary school at Vichparia village in the state’s Sitapur district, around 90 kilometres from state capital Lucknow, were served rice and juice prepared with turmeric though as per the menu they are to be served rice and vegetables.

After the video went viral on social media, District basic education department officials hurried to the school for damage control and contested the charges. They even claimed that the students were served rice and vegetables and the video was a plot to malign the authorities. A few weeks back when the video of students eating salt and roti went viral on social media, the government took swift action and the journalist was booked for spreading propaganda against the government instead of rectifying the mistake. In these circumstances, it is no surprise that India is slipping down on the Global Hunger Index (GHI).

Though it provides ample opportunity of introspection to the Indian politicians but the lesson is far from being learnt. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the Indian public sector banks had the “worst phase” under the combination of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. Delivering a lecture at the prestigious Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, she said that giving all the public sector banks a “lifeline” is today her primary duty. It would have helped the Indian economy a lot more if she accepted the flaws in the policies of the current government instead of slinging mud at former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.

Indian populace is also under trouble as the PMC bank has been put under restrictions by the RBI following the discovery of a Rs 4,355 crore scam. Deposit withdrawals have been restricted at Rs 40,000 over a six-month period, causing panic and distress among depositors.  A depositor of the scam-hit PMC Bank allegedly committed suicide while another died of a heart attack a few hours after taking part in a protest by bank customers seeking their money back.

It is important for government to focus on Global Hunger Index, Mid-day meal, and PMC scam instead of criticizing the past governments for their own shortcomings.

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