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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Growth and the Nutrition Puzzle: Overcoming challenges in feeding India’,30th July, 2014


The Indian economy is third largest by purchasing power parity (PPP) basis. India achieved 9.6% real GDP growth in 2006, 9.0% in 2007, and despite the ongoing financial crisis, GDP growth averaged around 6.0%. The Rangarajan Committee therefore estimates that the 30.9% of the rural population and 26.4% of the urban population was below the poverty line in 2011-12. The all-India ratio was 29.5%. In rural India, 260.5 million individuals were below poverty and in urban India 102.5 million were under poverty. In 2011-12, 363 million were below poverty accounting to one third of world’s people in extreme poverty. There is a very weak correlation between economic development and the Hunger Index across states. Such high levels of hunger and malnutrition are a paradox, because they stubbornly survive surging economic growth and agricultural production, and persist in spite of one the largest and most ambitious national government food schemes in the world. This lecture discusses ways of addressing poverty and hunger.


Professor Parasuraman studied Physics, Anthropology and Demography; taught at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) from 1981-95; and subsequently worked with Oxfam, World Commission on Dams (World Bank – IUCN) and U N High Commission for Human Rights (1995-2004). Since 2004, he serves as Director of TISS. His research contribution in 2013 included: Feeding India: Livelihoods, Entitlements and Capabilities, August 2013, Earthscan by Routledge, UK; Civil Society in Water Governance in South Asia, September 2013, Routledge; and India Disasters Report II: Redefining Disasters, September 2013, Oxford University Press.

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