India has slipped at 100th place in the Global Hunger Index, composed for 119 countries of theworld. It is indeed very painful that on the one head India is the second fastest growing economyof the world and had enjoyed the crown of being the fastest growing economy of the world since2014 to 2016. But it is all the more worrisome that India is now lagging behind even Nepal,Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Moreover, a fall from the 55th rank in 2014 to the 100th isquite painfully astonishing. A very poor state of Human Development on various counts,including the child-wasting, stunted growth and very high child mortality rate of 5% reflectabject poverty among vast masses. On account of severe malnourishment, 21% of the Indianchildren suffer from wasting, that have a weight lower than normal for height. Only three othercountries in the world have the worst statistics on this count than India. Nearly, 40% of Indianchildren are also reported to be stunted (have low height for their age) due to hunger – onlybetter than the Pakistan in our neighborhood.
One of the major reasons for this poor state of human development in the country may be joblosses, out of growing industrial sickness, casualisation of workforce, lack of regular availabilityof job for such casual workers as well throughout the year and lack of social security for almost80% of the casual workforce. Quality employment for masses, can be generated only by revivingthe manufacturing sector, reeling under import surge and an unfriendly manufacturing eco-system. High interest rates, higher power-tariffs, inordinate delays in all the requisite clearancesrequired to add or setup fresh manufacturing facilities are some of the major reasons fordeclining trend in the manufacturing activities in the country.
India has only 2.1% contribution in the world manufacturing vis-à-vis 22% of the China, 17.6%of the United States and 7% of the Japan. Japan has only 1.6% share in the world populationwherever 7% share in world manufacturing, while India has 17.8% share in the worldpopulation, but only 2.1% share in world manufacturing. China too had mere 2.4% contributionin the world manufacturing in 1991. Now, by virtue of its robust manufacturing base, China hasthe highest ratio of middle-income group in population in world. Deriving a cue from it, Indiatoo has to improve its manufacturing eco-system to promote domestic investment in setting upnew capacities and upscale the existing ones. A bold initiative is needed to be undertaken, tolaunch and groom ‘Made By India’ products and brands with full downstream value chain ofequipments and components, including the original equipment manufacturing. Initiatives have tobe taken to develop industry consortiums for developing precompetitive technologies fordomestic industry and various industry clusters. The interest rates and power-tariffs too have to
be brought down to make these at par with the major manufacturing economies of the world forproviding a facilitating and enabling environment to the domestically owned enterprises.Infrastructure development activities too need to be developed through domestically ownedventures, to support value addition in the downstream value chain domestically.
So, now instead of focusing merely on poverty alleviation programmes, these need to besupported by endeavors to generate quality employment, with reasonable social security throughinvestment promotion in quality employment generating activities in industry and commerce. Aninvestor friendly eco-system for enhancing domestic investment in manufacturing ‘Made ByIndia’ products and brands can only take the country of the present crisis of hunger and poverty.It would support original equipment manufacturing and generate a multiplier impact onemployment generation, income, demand, investment and further income generation in a cyclicalphase in the downstream value chain.
Hunger Index: Need to revive Manufacturing (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324676595_Hunger_Index_Need_to_revive_Manufacturing [accessed May 21 2018].