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Measuring hunger across States

  • Published
    4th Sep, 2023


According to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report of 2022, India is home to 224.3 million undernourished people. Although there is need for India-specific hunger index, at the level of States and Union Territories that will help to evaluate the extent of undernourishment at a more localised scale.

Persistent Food Insecurity in India

  • Global Hunger Index Ranking: India ranks 107 out of 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2022, highlighting continued food insecurity, child malnutrition, and hunger.
  • Disparities across States: There are stark differences among states. A subnational hunger index is essential for targeted action.
  • Components of the State Hunger Index (SHI): The SHI considers indicators such as child stunting, wasting, under-five mortality, and BMI undernourishment for working-age adults to assess hunger levels at the state level.

Alarming State Hunger Index Scores

  • Alarming Scores: States like Bihar, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh scored 35, categorized as 'alarming' hunger levels, comparable to African nations. Several other states performed above the national average.
  • Moderate Hunger: States like Chandigarh, Sikkim, Puducherry, Kerala, and others scored below 16, falling into the 'moderate hunger' category. No state is classified as 'low hunger.'
  • Impact of COVID-19 Not Included: The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on SHI are not considered due to the lack of post-pandemic data.

Challenges in Combating Hunger and Malnutrition

  • Deteriorating GHI Score: India's GHI score has worsened in recent years, primarily due to increasing calorie undernourishment. Data disputes exist with no recent National Sample Survey on nutritional intake.
  • Child Malnutrition: India faces challenges in child nutrition, with high rates of stunting, wasting, and underweight children. Despite poverty reduction, food insecurity persists.
  • Need for Targeted Action: While the GHI has limitations, it sheds light on undernourishment and child malnutrition. India must address these issues to improve food security and child well-being.
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