As told to Parliament (December 7, 2022): 71% Indians can’t afford nutritious food, member of Parliament cites DTE report

More than 1.7 million people die every year due to diseases caused by poor diet, DTE reported

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 07 December 2022

Member of Parliament (MP) Syed Nasir Hussain has raised a few questions to Smriti Irani, Union minister for women and child development, based on a recent report by the Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment and Down To Earth.

Some 71 per cent of Indians cannot afford nutritious food and more than 1.7 million people die every year due to diseases caused by poor diet, the report had said.

Irani responded to the unstarred question asked December 5, 2022, during the winter session, by saying that “the ministry is not aware of any such report.”

The government has addressed the issue of food security at the household levels by ensuring access to adequate quantities of quality food grains at subsidised rates.

Further, even during the COVID-19 Pandemic, free ration was provided to 800 million people under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, she claimed.

Hussain has also sought reasons for the spike in anaemia cases among children aged 6-59 months. He was referring to the latest edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS).

Anaemia in children and women worsened in the past half-a-decade across most states and Union territories, the survey noted.

Child nutrition

Nutritional indicators for children under five years have improved compared to the previous NFHS, said Irani in response to a question asked by MP Priyanka Chaturvedi.
Stunting has reduced to 35.5 per cent from 38.4 per cent, wasting to 19.3 per cent from 21.0 per cent and underweight prevalence to 32.1 per cent from 35.8 per cent, the minister claimed.

Scrapping of vehicles

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has formulated a Vehicle Scrapping Policy based on incentives/disincentives, Nitin Jairam Gadkari, Union minister for road transport and highways, told the Rajya Sabha.

The policy will create an ecosystem to phase out older, unfit and polluting vehicles. In order to enforce provisions of the policy, rules have been issued/amended under the framework of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, the minister said.

Electric vehicles

The government launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme in 2015 on a pan-India basis to promote the manufacturing and usage of electric and eco-friendly battery vehicles in the country, Gadkari told the Rajya Sabha.

The scheme aims to reduce fossil fuel dependency and address vehicular emissions issues, he added.

The second phase of the scheme is being implemented for five years, starting from 2019, with total budgetary support of Rs 10,000 crore. This phase focuses on supporting the electrification of public and shared transportation, the minister added.

 Almost 39,000 villages sans mobile connectivity

Some 38,901 villages in the country lack access to mobile connectivity, Devusinh Chauhan, minister of state for communications told the Lok Sabha while responding to a question.

Through funding from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), the government is implementing various schemes for providing mobile internet connectivity in all remaining villages of the country.

Around Rs 18,419.20 crore have been disbursed from USOF in the last three years and the current financial year up to October 2022, the minister said.

Extreme weather events

There has been a surge in extreme weather events in 2022 compared to the previous year. The country recorded extreme weather events such as heatwaves, cold waves, cyclones, lightning, heavy rainfall and landslides.

Some 240 thunderstorms were recorded in 2022 compared to 45 cases in 2021, Jitendra Singh, the minister of state for earth sciences told the Lok Sabha.
Uttarakhand had the highest heat waves in 2022, the minister said.

India Metrological Department has taken various initiatives in recent years to improve the dissemination of weather forecasts and warning services based on the latest tools and technologies, Singh added.

Rainfall deficit

IMD has carried out an analysis of observed monsoon rainfall variability and changes in 29 states and Union Territories at state and district levels based on the data from 30 years (1989- 2018), Singh told the Lok Sabha.

Five states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Nagaland — have recorded a significant decrease in southwest monsoon rainfall, Singh added.

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