‘BJP govt working in the wrong direction’: Akhilesh Yadav on India’s global hunger index ranking, malnourishment in UP
Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Akhilesh Yadav hit out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh over India’s ranking in the global hunger index (GHI).
“Central government said we will make a 5 trillion economy, the UP government said it will make one trillion economy but India is behind Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal in the Hunger Index,” Yadav said at a press conference.
He also alleged that the presence of the highest number of malnourished children in UP shows “that the BJP govt is working in the wrong direction”.
Yadav was referring to the 2021 global Hunger index rankings in which India slipped to the 101st position out of 116 countries from its 94th position of 2020. Neighbouring countries Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and coup-hit Myanmar in spite of being included in the ‘alarming’ hunger category have fared better than India. The report was published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, a German non-profit.
The Indian government called the report, which was based on estimates by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, “unscientific”, and claimed the assessment was done by an American firm that conducts global opinion polls. Welthungerhilfe has however denied claims of the report being based on an opinion poll.
The Union government has come under heavy criticism from opposition parties for India’s fall in GHI.
It is not clear which report Yadav was referring to when he claimed Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of malnourished children in the country, but Union minister for women and child development, Smriti Irani, had informed the Rajya Sabha in July that UP accounts for over 40% severely acute malnourished children in the country.
"As per ICDS-RRS (Rapid Reporting System) Portal, as on 30th November, 2020, 9,27,606 severely acute malnourished (SAM) children (6 months - 6 years) have been identified in the country, out of which 3,98,359 are from the State of Uttar Pradesh," Irani told Rajya Sabha in response to a question.
Yadav also touched on the topic of caste census during the press conference, stating that “SP wants caste census to happen”.
He also took a dig at his 2017 assembly poll coalition partner Congress, and claimed that political leaders like his father and the erstwhile party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Yadav, and many other prominent leaders from South India wanted a caste census to be carried out during the tenure of the Congress-led government “but that did not happen”.