GS Paper 2 : Issues related to poverty and hunger
Qn.“ A year wasted in lockdown should not become a year of childhood wasting “ – Examine this statement in the context of India’s dismal rank in the Global Hunger Index 2020. Suggest measures to address the issue of childhood hunger during the lockdown of schools ?(250 words)
Why this Question ?
The question has been asked in relationship with the growing rate of childhood malnutrition due to COVID-19 lockdown. Due to the government imposed lockdown, the Mid Day Meal Schemes have come to a grinding halt due to which the children from poor households who do not have access to the right nutrition suffer very badly.
The question has two parts to it.
The first part of the question has an “Examine” type of a question in it. Hence we have to look deeply into the statement in the context of India’s dismal performance in tackling malnutrition and hunger.
The statement given in the question is
“ A year wasted in lockdown should not become a year of childhood wasting”
The statement focuses on ‘child wasting’ . The statement cautions that child wasting numbers should not rise up.
Since we have to examine this statement,
How can the structure of the answer be like ?
The introduction should bring in the context. A mention can be made here about the rank of India in Global Hunger Index 2020 and why it is a problem. The fact that this can become even serious due to supply disruptions due to COVID-19 can also be brought in the introduction part.
The content part of the answer should explain what is child wasting and the reasons for child wasting. It can also explain the impact of child wasting on the society and economy.
The answer can bring out the different governmental initiatives to prevent childhood wasting in India.
The impact of lockdown on disruptions in the Mid Day Meal(MDM) scheme has to be brought in the answer. How procurement of grains for MDM has been impacted and hence unavailability of cereals should be present in the content part.
In addition to this, the component about nutritional security also should be brought in the content part. Food security also includes availability of proteins, micro nutrients, folic acid etc. The impact of COVID-19 in terms of closing the schools and the accompanying un-availability of right nutrition to children from poor families need to be highlighted.
The other part of the question also discusses about the future measures that can be taken so as to remedy this problem of childhood hunger during the COVID-19 lockdown times.
Solutions can be the following measures
- Hot cooked meals to be provided through Angan Wadi Centres (since AWC’s are closer to homes than schools )
- Take home dry rations can be given at the homes of these children by local AWC
- Local farmer groups can be formed and grains procured from these groups so as to make grains and vegetables available at these centres where food is cooked for the
The conclusion for such a question can only address that child wasting is a remediable problem and these alternative strategies can be used to target the vulnerable groups of children. Childhood if wasted on diseases due to malnutrition can never be recovered at any later point of time. It is only by taking caring of child hunger and malnutrition issues an India that is healthy and happy can be created.