Global Hunger Index and India’s Ranking (GS 3, Economics, The Hindu, Indian Express)

Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and Welt hunger hilfe, (a German organization) jointly publish the Global hunger index report. The Global hunger index score is calculated on the basis of four indicators namely Undernourishment,  child wasting, child stunting and Child mortality. Child wasting is defined as the share of children below 5 years who have low weight for their height reflecting acute under-nutrition. Child stunting is defined as children below 5 years who have low height for their age reflecting chronic under-nutrition and child mortality is defined as the number of children dying under 5 years of age divided by the number of live births of that year. The country’s HDI score is classified by severity from low, moderate, serious, alarming to extremely alarming as per its score. 

The global hunger index report is published in October every year. The 2021 hunger report is pointing towards a dire hunger situation in the backdrop of the covid pandemic and related lockdowns, climate crisis, and severe violent conflicts across the world. The goal of zero hunger by 2030 as per the Sustainable Development Goals seems too far. This report is showing signs of stagnating and even being reversed. 

NEWS: In the Global hunger index report 2021 India, with a score of 27.5 slips to the 101st spot among 116 countries, fell behind Pakistan (92), Bangladesh (76), and Nepal (76). Only 15 countries like Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Mozambique etc. were worse was than India. The report mentioned the level of hunger in India as serious. The GHI score for India has decelerated from 38.8 in 2000 the range of 28.8 – 27.5 between 2012 and 2021. People have been severely hit by pandemics and related restrictions in India.  India is having the highest child wasting rate worldwide. Forever India has shown improvement in indicators like under-five mortality, Stunting, and Undernourishment. 

The Government has challenged: The government has challenged India’s poor ranking and the methodology used. India is among 31 countries where hunger has been identified as serious. Last year India’s rank was 94 among 107 countries. As per the government, the publishing agencies have not done their due diligence before releasing the report. The Ministry of Women and Child Development said that they have based their assessment on the results of a ‘four question’ opinion poll, which was conducted telephonically by Gallup. The methodology used by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is unscientific as it reported in the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the world 2021 report, that countries in the region Afghanistan, Bangladesh Nepal, and Sri Lanka have not been affected at all by pandemic induced losses of job and income.

The date of undernourishment is provided by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The date of child mortality is  taken from United Nation Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation. Child Wasting and Stunting data are sourced from a joint database of  World Health Organisation, UNICEF and World Bank, among others. It is basically the data of FAO which the government has questioned. The Government has questioned the poll­based assessment that “has increased the value of ‘proportion of population undernourished’ from 14.0% for the previous period 2017­-19 to 15.3% for the latest period 2018­-20,” according to an official. According to the FAO report, prevalence of undernourishment in a population is calculated in a very scientific manner that includes habitual dietary energy intake levels, information on the population structure and median height in each sex and age. 

Md Layeeque Azam, Economics Faculty

Plutus IAS daily current affairs 18 Oct 2021