What is the global hunger index? What is its significance from the food security aspect? What are India’s conditions according to it? Know more here.
Why in news:
- The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 report has put India in the 101st position out of 116 countries. India has slipped from its 94th position in GHI 2020 placing her behind neighbors like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
- The government of India has challenged India’s poor ranking and questioned the unscientific methodology used to determine the hunger status of the countries.
What is Global Hunger Index?
The GHI is a tool that measures and analyses the hunger status globally, regionally, and by country. It is prepared by European NGOs ‘Concern Worldwide’ and ‘Welthungerlife’. The GHI is calculated annually and the result is published in the report released in October every year.
Created in 2006, the GHI was initially published by the USA-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Germany-based In 2007, the Irish NGO Concern Worldwide also became a co-publisher. In 2018, IFPRI stepped out of the association.
The Global Hunger Index measures hunger on a 100-point scale- 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst.
The data used to calculate GHI scores come from published United Nations sources-
- Undernourishment data are provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and
- Child mortality data are sourced from the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME).
- Child wasting and stunting data are drawn from the joint database of UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank, among others.
The GHI combines 4 component indicators:
- The proportion of the undernourished as a percentage of the population.
- The proportion of children under the age of five suffering from wasting, a sign of acute undernutrition.
- The proportion of children under the age of five suffering from stunting, a sign of chronic undernutrition.
- The mortality rate of children under the age of five.
The focus of the 2021 GHI is Hunger and Food Systems in Conflict Settings as the link between conflict and hunger is well established, hence the priority is to stem the hunger and end violence, which needs peacebuilding/restoring efforts and creating resilient food systems.
Moving forward will require that work be structured according to four priorities: (1) adopt a flexible and agile approach; (2) work through partnerships; (3) pursue integrative ways of working; and (4) break down funding silos.
How does the global hunger scenario look?
- Conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change– are the three powerful forces driving the hunger status downhill in the world now.
- The report says that almost 47 countries will fail to achieve even a low level of hunger by 2030.
- Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) like “Zero hunger” and “leave no one behind” and will remain unachieved due to inequality at all levels of social structure aided by the three driving forces.
- The African especially south of Sahara and South Asian regions are in the severe hunger level criteria.
What is the Indian scenario?
- India’s GHI score has decreased from a GHI score of 38.8 points (considered alarming) in 2000 to a GHI score of 27.5 (considered serious) in 2021.
- The overall scenario has progressed in India since 2000 but the areas of concern like nutrition remain. But the proportion of undernourished in the population and the under-five mortality is in lower levels.
- India’s child stunting has decreased from 54.2% (1998-99) to 34.7% (2016-18), though still considered high compared to global levels.
- India has the highest child wasting rate of all countries covered in the GHI, which is 17.3% (it was 17.1% in 1998-99).
How has the Indian government responded?
- “The publishing agencies of the Global Hunger Report, Concern Worldwide, and Welthungerhlife have not done their due diligence before releasing the report. The methodology used by FAO is unscientific. They have based their assessment on the results of a ‘four question’ opinion poll’, which was conducted telephonically by Gallup,” the Ministry of Women and Child Development said in a statement.
- The scientific measurement of undernourishment would require the measurement of weight and height.
- Efforts by the government:
- POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment) scheme with increased allocations to POSHAN 2.0- Launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2018, it targets to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anemia (among young children, women, and adolescent girls).
- Pradhan mantra garib kalayan yojana (PMGKY)
- Atmanirbhar Bharat
- Eat Right India movement
- Food fortification or Food Enrichment is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk, and salt to improve their nutritional content.
- National food security act, 2013 legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
- Integrated child development services scheme offers a package of six services (Supplementary Nutrition, Pre-school non-formal education, Nutrition & health education, Immunization, Health check-up, and Referral services) to children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
What is the criticism India is facing?
- The POSHAN Abhiyaan launched in 2017 to improve nutrition among children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers has suffered due to poor funding mostly due to clubbing with other schemes within the health budget and poor implementation.
- Oxfam India has criticized the funding and implementation of government schemes, they said “There are massive negative consequences to not arresting high levels of malnutrition. In India, both our adult population and children are at risk. For instance, the BMI of a quarter of our (teenage and middle-aged) women is below the standard global norm, more than half of our women suffer from anemia. A quarter of our (teenage and middle-aged) men also show signs of iron and calcium deficiencies as per the latest round of NHFS data.”