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What does the Global Hunger Index indicated for India?

  • Published
    5th Dec, 2022
Context

The Government of India has raised concerns over the Global Hunger Report 2022.

  • It has referred to the index as an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues.


What is the issue?

The Government of India has rejected the report based on the following reasons:

  • Three out of the four indicators used for the calculation of the index are related to the health of Children and cannot be representative of the entire population.
  • The FAO estimate is based on the “Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES)” which is an “opinion poll” based on “8 questions” with a sample size of “3000 respondents” (small sample size).
  • The report is not only disconnected from ground reality but also chooses to deliberately ignore the food security efforts of the Government of India, especially during the pandemic.

About the Global Hunger Index:

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels.
  • GHI scores are based on the values of four component indicators:
    • Undernourishment
    • Child stunting
    • Child wasting
    • Child mortality
  • The GHI is prepared by European NGOs of Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
  • The GHI is an annual report and each set of GHI scores uses data from a 5-year period. The 2022 GHI scores are calculated using data from 2017 through 2021.
  • In Global Hunger Index 2022, India ranked 101 out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021.

Performance of Countries on GHI 2022:

  • Global Progress: Globally: the progress against hunger has largely stagnated in recent years, with a global score of 18.2 in 2022 as compared to 19.1 in 2014, there is only a slight improvement.
  • India and Neighboring Countries: Among the South Asian countries, India (107) is ranked below Sri Lanka (64), Nepal (81), Bangladesh (84), and Pakistan (99).

Methodology:

  • The Global Hunger Index was informed by the official data source of the Government of India.
    • The data from National Family Health Survey (NFHS) has been used while ranking India.
    • The NFHS data confirms disconcertingly high child mortality rates and chronic malnutrition persist in India, despite clear progress in the past few years.
    • Although the instances of child mortality are on the decline, a still large proportion of children still suffer from the devastating consequences of acute and chronic malnutrition.
  • The government has also criticized the indicator FAO uses to measure food security- the prevalence of undernourishment.
    • This indicator has been scrutinized and approved by countries through the UN Statistical Commission and the UN Economic and Social Council in 2015.

The reaction from the government might have made two fundamental mistakes.

  • No access to the latest NSS data: The FAO doesn’t have access to the latest, 75th round of the NSS data on consumer expenditures conducted in 2017-2018. It’s not publicly available.
  • Lack of understanding regarding statistical protocols: All of the methodological details regarding how FAO measures food security are public knowledge and explained yearly in the technical notes.

Initiatives to Eradicate Hunger/Malnutrition:

  • POSHAN Abhiyan
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana
  • Food Fortification
  • National Food Security Act, 2013
  • Mission Indradhanush
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme
  • Eat Right India Movement
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