Global Hunger Index report and the issue of food security in India

Global Hunger Index report and the issue of food security in India

Global Hunger Index India

The topic is based on the “Global Hunger Index report and the issue of food security in India”. It tells how Global Hunger Index impacts the Indian economy.


The latest edition of the Global Hunger Index report in India was recently released by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. The report ranked India 107th out of 136 Countries. The report barely two days after the world celebrated World food day on 16th October which is the foundation day of FAO, a UN body. 


The index measures and tracks hunger at the regional, country, and global levels by using four separate indicators to “capture the multidimensional nature of hunger”. The four indicators are:

  • Undernourishment:  It measures the share of the population with insufficient calorie intake. This reflects hunger to the closest and occupies 1/3 of the GHI score.
  • Child Stunting: It reflects the share of children under the age of five years who have low height for their age. It has a weightage of 1/6 of the score and shows chronic undernutrition.
  • Child Wasting: It is the share of children under the age of five years who have low weight for their height. It also has a weightage of 1/6 of the total score.
  • Child Mortality: It refers to the death of a child under five years of age. This makes up 1/3 of the GHI score.

The Global Hunger Index reflects deficiencies in calories as well as in micronutrients.

The report again throws light on the issue of hunger and food security in India


According to the World Food Summit, 1996, Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Food Security has the following three components:

  • Availability: It signifies adequate food production within the country, the amount of food imported as well as the food stored in government granaries.
  • Accessibility: It means food is within the reach of every person without any discrimination.
  • Affordability: It suggests that people have enough money to buy sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs.


  • COVID-19 Pandemic: The pandemic shook the world and exacerbated hunger and poverty everywhere, especially in India. The World Food Programme estimated that an additional 130 million people could fall into the category of “food insecure”
  • Russia-Ukraine Conflict: The Russian attack on Ukraine stopped grains from leaving Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine together export around one-third of the world’s wheat and barley. The tensions created between the countries have made it difficult for the grains to reach other countries that are dependent on them. This has increased food shortage and made food more expensive globally. 
  • Climate Change: Excessive heat or shortage of water can hamper crop growth, lead to a reduction in yields, and influence irrigation, soil quality, and the ecosystem on which agriculture depends. It can change rainfall patterns and lead to low production and yields. The recent Climate shocks like sudden rains in October have raised concerns about India’s wheat and rice production over the next year with the possibility of damaging crops. 
  • High Population: India’s population is expected to reach 1.5 billion people by 2030 The UN Population Prospects Report, 2022 suggests that India would surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2023. This puts an additional burden on the agri-food system.


  • The Constitution of India has recognized the right to food as part of the right to life under Article 21. Article 21 includes the right to live with human dignity and access to food is an integral part of it. 
  • In terms of production, from being a food-deficient country that had to rely on PL 480 imports, India had come a long way to ensure sufficient production. During 2021-22, India recorded $49.6 billion in total agriculture exports, a 20% increase from 2020-21. 
  • India has also provided humanitarian food aid to Afghanistan, and many other countries which are battling food supply shortages and disruptions
  • The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA)  moves from a welfare to a rights-based approach. It covers 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban populations. The Antyodaya Anna Yojana under it is to target the poorest-of-the-poor households, giving them 35 kg of foodgrains per month.
  • Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), provides food grains to a targeted population that falls below the poverty line (BPL).
  • PM POSHAN scheme: It aims to provide hot cooked meals in Government and Government-aided schools. It replaced the mid-day meal scheme in schools. The scheme shall provide adequate nutrition to children. 
  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY)scheme  was introduced in 2020 to provide relief to 800 million beneficiaries covered under the NFSA from COVID-19-induced economic hardships


Though we have come a long way, recent reports highlight the need to improve the food security system further.

  • Sustainable Farming Practice: Better watershed management, micro-irrigation facilities, and biotechnology need to be adopted. 
  • Crop diversification: India has a variety of crops. We need to diversify other than wheat and rice production for food and nutritional security. Millets are rich in nutrition, climate resilient, and nonwater intensive. They should be promoted. 
  • Replacing TPDS with Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT): this will decrease government costs and provide easy cash to people and help to fight hunger. Hence, it will be more efficient. 
  • Adopting ZBNF: It will reduce carbon footprint and loss of soil nutrients thus leading to better production.
  • Strengthening transparency in the agricultural system: This can be done by the promotion of labeling and tracing of crops. 
  • Community participation: Revamping of existing direct nutrition schemes by community participation can give new life to these programs. Roping in Women’s SHG, local bodies, health workers, and Panchayati Raj Institution (PRI) members is the need of the hour.


The Economic Times

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