Mazdoor Ekta Lehar
I wish to refer to the media report of October 15, that India has been ranked 107 out of 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022. It has been ranked worse than neighbouring countries Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Among the South Asian countries, only Afghanistan is ranked worse than us. The report states that India has gone down by six spots since 2021, and that the highest child wasting (acute malnutrition) rate in the world has been recorded in India. With a score of 29.1, the level of hunger in India has been labelled “serious”.
The central government has promptly rejected the report. It has questioned the credibility of the report and declared it to be part of an international conspiracy to malign the image of the country.
In September this year, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report had said that India has overtaken Britain to become the world’s fifth largest economy in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). That report also stated that India’s economy will grow the fastest among all major economies in the world.
The IMF report was widely publicised by the government, the media and the corporate houses, amidst great jubilation. It fitted in with the government’s much touted dream of India heading towards becoming “a 5 trillion dollar economy”.
The government did not highlight the fact, also brought out in reports of the World Bank and other international agencies, that India ranks last in terms of GDP per capita amongst the top 25 economies of the world. The point is that India is one of the largest economies of the world, because the population of India far exceeds the population of most countries, other than China. Given that India has a large number of Dollar billionaires, the extremely low per capita GDP of India indicates widespread poverty that exists.
The government is very happy with projections by international agencies when they portray India as a big economic engine in the world, and Indian monopoly capitalists as among the biggest in the world. What it is has consistently failed to explain is how, with such a huge and growing economy, there is such widespread hunger, malnutrition and poverty for the vast majority of the population. This condition of the people is growing worse year by year, even as the Indian government and various international agencies continue to boast about growth of the Indian economy.
The growth that the government and media are celebrating is the growth in profits of the top Indian monopoly capitalist houses, some of which are counted among the richest in the world today. It has not “trickled down” to create any growth for the masses of people.
On the contrary, the growth of the wealth of the monopoly capitalist houses, which is being celebrated, is at the expense of the people. It is a growth based on the intensifying exploitation and immiseration of the masses, and the utter denial of livelihood and rights for the vast majority.
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh