RSS affiliate says Hunger Index report ‘irresponsible’, ‘mischievous’

NEW DELHI : Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has slammed the Global Hunger Index on its report and termed it as “irresponsible and mischievous”.

It claimed that the report is far from reality, adding that this “report is not only faulty but also ridiculous not only from the point of view of data, but also from the point of view of analysis and methodology”.

“This report, completely unusable for academics, looks more like a political stunt, which seems to be an attempt to defame some developing countries, including India and their leadership. When such a report was released in October last year, there was a strong opposition from India on the data and methodology used in the same and then the World Food Organisation (FAO) had said that these errors would be corrected, but now, once again using the same wrong data and methodology, this year’s report is being released, the mala fide of this institution is becoming clear,” the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) said in a statement issued by its national coordinator, Ashwani Mahajan.

On October 15, a German non-governmental organisation ‘Welt Hunger Hilfe’ released the ranking of 121 countries based on the World Hunger Index, in which India has been ranked 107th out of 121 countries. In October last year, India was ranked 101 in the list of 116 countries.

The SJM said that when food security of many countries of the world is threatened, India is standing apart and has emerged as an example before the world. “During the pandemic period, when all economic activities had come to a standstill and the sources of income for the poor, labourers and the underprivileged were getting exhausted, the scheme of providing free food to 80 crore people and its successful execution by the Government of India is exemplary.

“Although international agencies are engaged in misleading propaganda about food security in India, a different picture is emerging on the ground, which cannot be ignored.

“Notably, Welt Hunger Hilfe does not collect any data on food consumption itself to prepare the World Hunger Index. And only data provided by the World Food Organisation (FAO) is supposed to be used. In the past, the FAO has relied on the National Nutrition Monitoring Board, India. However, the board says it has not conducted any survey of food consumption in the rural areas since 2011 and in urban areas since 2016. Instead, Welt Hunger Hilfe has chosen to use a so-called ‘Gallup’ survey of a private entity, with no theoretical justification, in place of board’s figures,” it added.

The Government of India has also questioned the methodology of this ‘Gallup’ survey conducted by the agency and the questions asked in the same.

The press release issued by the government has complained that the report released by the agency did not cover the efforts made by the government for food security.

The SJM asserted that the Government of India has been running the world’s largest food security programme, in which not only free foodgrains and pulses are being distributed to 80 crore countrymen for the last 28 months but supplementary nutrition and has also been provided to about 7.71 crore children and 1.78 crore pregnant women and lactating mothers under Anganwadi services, by 14 lakh Anganwadis.

“Supplementary nutrition was distributed by Anganwadi workers and helpers and ration was delivered to the beneficiaries at their doorstep every fortnight. Rs 5,000 each is being given to 1.5 crore women for the support and nutritious food during pregnancy and post-delivery period, on the birth of their first child”. — IANS

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