New Delhi: Food insecurity worsened in the most urbanised states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in six years till 2006, while it improved in poorer states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, said a study released by Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy on Saturday.
"These three states that have seen the spate of farmers suicide in the decade from 2000 find themselves in the category where urban food insecurity has worsened between 1998-2000 and 2004-06," the joint study of UN World Food Programme and MS Swaminathan Research Foundation said.
Interestingly, the food insecurity in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka equally worsened in rural areas in the review period, it said.
The report raised concerns about the model of urban growth that has been adopted in the three states, which are considered exemplars for achieving high growth in the country.
At all India level, the report found, "the period of economic reforms and high growth has not seen a clear improvement in urban food security across all the states."
"While the poorer states have done better than before, these states account for only a small part of the country`s urban population," it said.
Significantly, the report, which covered 18 states, has singled out Uttar Pradesh as an unique case for making impressive progress in providing food security to the urban poor.
Besides food insecurity, the report also highlighted chronic under-nutrition among women and children, besides, unemployment, water and sanitation in urban areas.
According to the report, chronic under-nutrition among women has significantly increased in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. However, the situation in poorer states such as Bihar and Orissa has shown improvement.
The percentage of the population consuming less than minimum dietary requirement has not shown any rise in urban India, though there is a small jump in Haryana, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, it said.
The report suggested the universalisation of Public Distribution System in urban areas, enhanced access to food by improving employment opportunities for urban poor, besides, strengthening safe drinking water and sanitation.