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Last updated at 16:05 BST, Monday, 19 October 2009

Hunger in India


19 October 2009

A recent report which evaluates how developing countries tackle hunger is sharply critical of India. Despite being one of the world's emerging economies, there are 30 million more hungry people in India than there were in the 1990s.

Sanjoy Majumder

An Indian boy eating rice

An Indian boy eating rice


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India may be one of the world's fastest growing economies but the benefit of its growing prosperity is not reaching everyone. According to the ActionAid report, 46% of its children are malnourished and the number of people growing hungry is increasing instead of coming down.

It's not that India doesn't grow enough food - in fact it's a major exporter of farm produce. The problem is that many people, especially poor communities, cannot access it for a variety of reasons, including rising food prices and poor distribution.

Government schemes, such as mandatory school meals, have not been effectively implemented across the country. And large-scale migration of people seeking work or displaced by large development schemes, such as dams or industrial projects, is adding to the problem. Invariably women and children are the most vulnerable.

But there are some positive signs. A landmark rural jobs programme launched four years ago is showing some signs of success in battling poverty. Analysts say it now needs to be persisted with and spread out to more parts of the country.

Sanjoy Majumder, BBC News, Delhi


Click to hear the vocabulary:


the benefit of its growing prosperity is not reaching everyone

not all people in India are living better as a result of the country's fast economic growth and increasing wealth


weak and unhealthy because they don't eat enough

a major exporter of farm produce

one of the countries that sell a lot of agricultural products abroad

a variety of

many different

poor distribution

here, when food is supplied irregularly and/or unevenly, without a proper system

displaced by

forced to leave where they normally lived because of

adding to the problem

another factor that makes the problem even more serious


very important, highly significant


fighting, dealing with, overcoming

be persisted with and spread out to more parts of the country

continue to be implemented/put into practice, as well as introduced in other parts of India