Given how only around 30% of POSHAN Abhiyaan funds were utilised by the states—India ranks a low 102 in the Global Hunger Index—the government must take urgent steps to combat this.
Niti Aayog’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index 2019-20 has improved to 60 in 2019—three points more than that in 2018. The improvement is largely on the back of progress made on the water & sanitation, clean energy, and innovation fronts. Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are the best performing states while Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh fare the worst. India also has had a poor showing on SDG1 (alleviating poverty), SDG2 (ending hunger), SDG8 (decent work and economic growth). It also does badly on SDG 10 (reducing inequality), SDG15 (preserving life on earth), and SDG16 (upholding peace, justice and strong institutions. However, as per the index, the performance on ending hunger and gender disparity cast a cloud over India’s overall performance.
India’s score on ending hunger dipped to 38 from last year’s 48 points. Given how only around 30% of POSHAN Abhiyaan funds were utilised by the states—India ranks a low 102 in the Global Hunger Index—the government must take urgent steps to combat this. Jharkhand was the worst performer in terms of ending hunger; around 25 states and UTs failed to address the issues. The states did poorly on gender equality, too. Apart from Kerala and Himcahal Pradesh, every other state performed poorly on this aspect. Indicators such as low sex-ratio (896 per 1,000 males), wage gap, lack of political representation, poor labour force participation and large scale informality of labour have contributed to India doing badly with respect to gender equality. What’s worse, it is now clear that certain states always fair poorly—a Jharkhand is always somewhere at the bottom, while a Kerala is always on the top. Therefore, the Centre needs to calibrate its policy and implementation to bridge these gaps.