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28th October 2022 (8 Topics)

Nutrition, not Hunger

Context:

In the recently released Global Hunger Index (GHI), India was ranked in the ‘serious’ category. However, the criteria for measuring the index are itself a questioning.

The Global Hunger Index and India’s position:

  • Aim: It measures and ranks countries on a hunger index at the global, regional, and national levels. The GHI’s stated aim is to reduce hunger around the world.
  • Criteria to analyze Hunger: It includes the infant mortality rate and health analysis for children less than 5 years of age. According to its reporting, India ranked less in all these categories.
  • Lacking behind: The methodology of the index focuses disproportionately on specific issues rather than causes and does not include data at the sub-national level where some Indian states fare better.

Hunger vs. Nutrition paradox:

  • GHI measures:
  • Hunger is associated with food scarcity and starvation. GHI uses childhood mortality and nutrition indicators.
  • But its preamble states how ‘communities, civil society organizations, small producers, farmers, and indigenous groups, shape access to nutritious food is governed’.
  • The reality behind measures: The data suggests that GHI sees hunger as a food production challenge when, according to the FAO, India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of grain and the largest producer of milk. It is, therefore, contentious and unacceptable to club India with countries facing serious food shortages.
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