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- Context (IE I TH): India ranks 111th out of 125 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2023, a drop from its 107th position among 121 countries in 2022.
- The country reports the highest child-wasting rate at 18.7%.
- With a GHI score of 28.7, India’s hunger level is serious.
- The global GHI score for 2023 is 18.3, considered slightly improved from the 2015 score of 19.1.
- Neighboring countries such as Pakistan (102nd), Bangladesh (81st), Nepal (69th), and Sri Lanka (60th) have better rankings than India.
- South Asia and Africa (South of the Sahara) report the highest hunger levels.
Global Hunger Report
- Global Hunger Report is an annual report jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe (NGOs from Ireland and Germany, respectively).
- GHI scores are based on the values of four indicators (Equally weighted):
- Child stunting
- Child wasting
- Child mortality
- The GHI scores range between 0 and 100, with higher scores indicating more hunger.
- The index suffers from severe methodological issues.
- Three of the four indicators used to calculate the index are related to children’s health and cannot represent the entire population.
- The fourth indicator, which is the estimate of the Proportion of Undernourished (PoU), is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size.
Discrepancy in Child-Wasting Data
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) has criticised the GHI, calling it a flawed measure of hunger that doesn’t reflect India’s true position.
- MoWCD claims that data from its Poshan Tracker portal shows a child-wasting prevalence of 7.2% among 7.24 crore under-five-year-olds, contrasting with the GHI’s figure of 18.7%.
Dispute Over Undernourishment Data
- MoWCD also objected to the alleged use of a telephone-based opinion poll to calculate undernourishment, one of the indicators used in GHI.
- However, the GHI maintains that it doesn’t use such a poll but relies on India’s Food Balance Sheet data to calculate undernourishment.