Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar on Friday urged members to analyse private studies or data before referring to them while raising any issue, saying such studies can be based on inadequate data or dictated by interests of others.
Dhankhar said this during Question Hour when Union Minister Piyush Goyal was replying to a supplementary query on India’s 107th ranking in the Global Hunger Index 2022.
KC(M) MP Jose K Mani said India’s rank was 107 among 121 countries. Neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are ahead of India in the index and only Afghanistan is behind, he noted.
Though the government has continuously questioned the methodology used in the index, the prevalence of hunger and poverty in the country is well seen, he said.
“Has the government found out the reason behind this mismatch?” he asked.
Goyal replied that as regard the hunger index, the name itself is a misnomer.
Referring to the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) under which the government provided five kg grains over and above the National Food Security Act limit, he said, “We have in a way eliminated hunger or starvation from the country. Every state has written that not a single death occurred due to starvation during the last two years.”
He said the hunger index is a private index made by some private non-government organisations based on a subject not related to hunger.
So they first have to decide what the nomenclature should be, he said.
“The statistics are drawn out of data which is unverified and also on measurements we don’t relate to India. I think we must recognise what is official and validated and what is mere propaganda,” the minister stated.
Dhankhar stated, “In our country iconic status is granted to parameters which are often baffling…don’t have any rationale. This august House is a repository of the wisdom of over 1.3 billion people. Therefore, when we raise an issue in the House…they should not carry much conviction unless the honourable member or minister premises them on our own record. Let’s believe in our worth.”
He said it will be very difficult and inappropriate to surrender our assessments, achievements to be assessed by those who have either inadequate data or whose actions are dictated by their interests, not ours.
“Try to digest what I have said. We must analyse the calibration…. we should not be captive,” he said.
“Our country cannot be allowed to be hurt by calibration from outside on premise which we don’t believe. That doesn’t mean that the calibration outside does not have credibility. We have to get into those areas,” he said.
AAP MP Sanjay Singh asked about the central government’s approval to the Delhi government’s scheme of delivery of free ration at the doorstep of beneficiaries.
Goyal replied that the court has rejected that scheme.
On Singh’s allegations of unfair practice at fair price shops under the public distribution system, the minister stated the state can address the issue as it is under their control.
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