18/08/08

more food equals more undernourishment

andhra pradesh grows more than 11 million tonnes of rice every year, kerala grows around 0.6-0.8 million tonnes a year- which state has a higher proportion of undernourished children?

andhra pradesh.

which state is food secure?

andhra pradesh, again. the state grows around 5 million more tonnes of rice than it needs while kerala's yearly output satisfies around one-fifth of its needs.

so much for food security.

kerala's governments, especially the left front led coalitions, have long focussed on redistributive justice- is that a reason why there is less undernourishment among children in kerala? then west bengal, where the communists have had an unhindered control of reins, should have a better record, yes?

no. undernourishment among children, between 0-2 years, is 43.5% in west bengal, much worse than in kerala (28.8). and worse than even in andhra pradesh (36.5).

and to think that west bengal is more food secure than andhra pradesh as it produces more rice. so, what's undernourishment all about? and why should any state aim for food security?

1 comment:

Anoop Saha said...

Very interesting observation. I might have some inputs. In fact, the growth of marxism in Kerala and West Bengal followed entirely different paths. One particular difference is the social bases of the cadres of the two parties. Although both states were largely successful in implementing land reforms, the west bengal CPM is largely dominated by upper and upper middle castes. And considering that WB has around 25% dalits, in addition to 28% muslim population, the state remained poor in almost every social indicators.
Compare this with Kerala. The growth of communists in Kerala followed the same pattern as WB. But Kerala also has strong rightwing parties, which never allowed the communists to get complacent of their social base. Combined with the electorate's intelligent juggling between two leading groups, the communists whenever they were in power continued to implement radical measures.
Of course, Kerala is not an ideal. But the only explanation of low malnutrition in Kerala compared to AP and WB is that the poorest classes (who are most vulnerable to malnutrition) had a far larger stake in the power here than the other states.
It might also interest you that Kashmir, which implemented the most successful land reforms in the country right after independence, has even lower rate of malnutrition.

 
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