Wednesday, 14 October 2020
The cost of a recommended diet (CoRD) in India in 2011 (the most recent year for which expenditure and consumption data is available) was ₹45.1 and ₹51.3 for women and men, according to a paper published this month in the Food Policy journal — numbers that, according to the paper’s authors, Kalyani Raghunathan, an economist at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and others were almost 1.6 times the commonly used World Bank poverty line of $1.9 a day in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms.
Worse still, according to the paper, in real terms, CoRD increased more than 3.5 times for both men and women between 2001 and 2011. To be sure, real earnings increased at a faster pace, especially for men, during this period.The paper highlights an important fact: freedom from poverty, even food security — the way in which it is defined by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) — do not guarantee nutrition security. As a result, while India achieved a rapid reduction in poverty in the 2000s, a majority of its rural population was unable to afford nutritional diets and nutritional poverty was significantly higher in India than what is captured by commonly used poverty measures.