Global Hunger Index 2021: India's Rank Slips to 101

By: Pragya Singh
20 Oct 2021 11:23:32 AM Shoolini University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh

In the report prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German non-profit Welthungerhilfe (WHH), India's hunger level has been termed 'alarming', with its GHI score decelerating from 38.8 in 2000 to 28.8-27.5 between 2012 and 2021. 

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The GHI score is calculated based on four specifications - undernourishment, child wasting (children below the age of five who have low weight for their height), child stunting (children below the age of five who have low height for their weight) and child mortality (mortality rate of children below the age of five). 


China, Brazil, Kuwait, along with 15 other countries, secured top rank in Hunger Index with a GHI score lower than 5, the Global Hunger Index website published on Thursday. 


As per the report, India's share of wasting among children rose from 17.1%between 1998-2002 to 17.3% between 2016-2020. 


The GHI report highlighted that food security is threatened on multiple fronts with worsening conflicts, weather extremes associated with global climate change and the economic and health challenges related to Covid 19 pandemic, all contributing to the collective hunger. 


"Inequality between regions, countries, districts and communities - is persuasive and (if) left unchecked will keep the world from achieving the sustainable development Goal (SDG) mandate to no one behind," the report said. “It is difficult to be optimistic in 2021 because the forces driving hunger are overpowering good intentions and lofty goals.” 


One must note that India has improved in other categories of the report, such as infant mortality, pediatric nourishment and per-capita nutrition allotted to children under 18 years. 


The Ministry of Women and Child Welfare came out strongly against the annual Global Hunger Index publishers over the questions of methodology and data sources amid a decline in the country’s ranking. “The publishing agencies have not done due diligence before releasing the report," the ministry said in a statement.


Calling the FAO methodology “unscientific", the government said that “the scientific measurement of undernourishment would require measurement of weight and height, whereas the methodology involved here is based on Gallup poll, accounting a pure telephonic estimate of the population".


This trend of undernutrition in India is unfortunately not new. The GHI ranking is actually based on the government’s own National Family Health Survey (NHFS) data. The data shows that between 2015 and 2019, many Indian states reversed the gains made on child nutrition parameters.


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