In News: India trails in Global Hunger Index

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2019 has ranked India a lowly 102 among the 117 countries it has mapped.
  • In 2018, India was pegged at 103 but last year 119 countries were mapped. So while the rank is one better this year, in reality, India is not better off in comparison to the other countries. 
  • On the whole, the 2019 GHI report has found that the number of hungry people has risen from 785 million in 2015 to 822 million.

India trails in Global Hunger Index What is the Global Hunger Index?

  • The GHI has been brought out almost every year by Welthungerhilfe (lately in partnership with Concern Worldwide) since 2000; this year’s report is the 14th one. 
  • The reason for mapping hunger is to ensure that the world achieves “Zero Hunger by 2030” — one of the Sustainable Development Goals laid out by the United Nations. It is for this reason that GHI scores are not calculated for certain high-income countries.
  • While in common parlance hunger is understood in terms of food deprivation, in a formal sense it is calculated by mapping the level of calorie intake.

What is India’s score relative to those of the others?

  • Among the BRICS grouping, India is ranked the worst, with China at 25 and a score of just 6.5. Within South Asia, too, India is behind every other country. Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan (in that order) are all ahead of India.

Why is India ranked so low on GHI?

  • With an overall score of 30.3, India finds itself sandwiched between Niger (score 30.2, rank 101) and Sierra Leone (score 30.4, rank 103). 
  • The pace of India’s improvement has been relatively slow comparatively with other countries in the index.
  • Even though India has improved its score, many others have done more and that explains why despite achieving relatively fast economic growth since 2000, India has not been able to make commensurate strides in reducing hunger.

What are the reasons for which India’s improvements declining?

  • The percentage of children under the age of 5 years suffering from wasting has gone up from 16.5 in 2010 to 20.8 now. Wasting is indicative of acute undernutrition and India is the worst among all countries on this parameter.
  • Its child stunting rate, 37.9 percent, is also categorized as very high in terms of its public health significance.
  • In India, just 9.6 percent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet.

Global Hunger Index

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels.
  • GHI is released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington in association with Concern Worldwide of Ireland and Welthungerhilfe (German non-profit organization).
  • The GHI is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions and call attention to those areas of the world where hunger levels are highest and where the need for additional efforts to eliminate hunger is greatest.
  • GHI is calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger.
  • It scores on a 100-point GHI Severity Scale, where 0 is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the chronic undernutrition. Values less than 10 reflect low hunger, values from 20 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35 to 49.9 are alarming, and values of 50 or more are extremely alarming.

Indicators for Calculating GHI Score:

  1. Undernourishment: the share of the population that is undernourished (caloric intake is insufficient);
  2. Child Wasting: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition);
  3. Child Stunting: The share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and
  4. Child Mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

Source: Read More Articles: Ending Malnourishment By Diversifying Food Consumption India Ranks Low On Gender Equality Index, Stands At 95 Out Of 129 Countries