02/24/2022, 16.02
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The pandemic continues to affect the food security of the poor in 14 Indian states

According to the Hunger Watch Survey-II conducted between December and January, one household in three was at risk of going to bed without enough food in the month preceding the survey. Rising debt is also a great concern. For the survey’s authors, the authorities “are in denial mode.”

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The effects of the second wave of the COVID-9 pandemic continue to aggravate food insecurity among the poorest sections of India’s population, this according to the Hunger Watch Survey-II, a study conducted by the Right to Food Campaign India whose findings were released yesterday in New Delhi.

Some 6,697 disadvantaged households in 14 Indian states took part in the study between December and January. About 80 per cent of those surveyed reported some form of food insecurity, while as many as 25 per cent reported severe food insecurity for six months following the devastating second wave of the pandemic that brought India to its knees.

The survey found that, in the month preceding the survey, more than 60 per cent of respondents were unable to eat healthy or nutritious food or could only eat a few types of food. One third of respondents reported that they or someone in their family went to bed hungry.

As many as 66 per cent reported a drop in income since the pre-pandemic period. Overall, 40 per cent of households with working members and 31 per cent of the total Hunger Watch-II sample reported that their current incomes were less than half of pre-pandemic levels.

The study found that 45 per cent of households had debts. About 21 per cent of the respondents said that they had a total debt of more than 50,000 rupees (around US$ 660). The total monthly income of about 70 per cent of households with working members was less than 7,000 rupees (about US$ 90).

The Right to Food campaign’s first Hunger Watch Survey was done a few months after the 2020 lockdown. It was aimed at monitoring hunger in vulnerable communities through personal surveys, followed by local actions.

“The challenge is that both the state and central governments are in denial mode. They do not acknowledge a food insecurity problem exists in the country,” said Anjali Bhardwaj, a member of the National Right to Food Campaign.

Now “We hope, the governments take cognizance of this report and start rolling out proper schemes to combat serious food insecurity.”

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