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Global Hunger Index 2021

  • 16 Oct 2021
  • 8 min read

Why in News

India has slipped to 101st position in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 of 116 countries, from its 2020 position of 94th

Key Points

  • About the Global Hunger Index:
    • Annual Report: Jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
      • It was first produced in 2006. It is published every October. The 2021 edition marks the 16th edition of the GHI.
    • Aim: To comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels.
    • Calculation: It is calculated on the basis of four indicators:
      • Undernourishment: Share of the population with insufficient caloric intake.
      • Child Wasting: Share of children under age five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition.
      • Child Stunting: Share of children under age five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.
      • Child Mortality: The mortality rate of children under the age of five.
    • Scoring:
      • Based on the values of the four indicators, the GHI determines hunger on a 100-point scale where 0 is the best possible score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.
      • Each country’s GHI score is classified by severity, from low to extremely alarming.
    • Data Collection:
  • Global Scenario:
    • The fight against hunger is dangerously off track.
      • Based on current GHI projections, the world as a whole - and 47 countries in particular - will fail to achieve a low level of hunger by 2030.
    • Food security is under assault on multiple fronts.
      • Worsening conflict, weather extremes associated with global climate change, and the economic and health challenges associated with the Covid-19 pandemic are all driving hunger.
    • After decades of decline, the global prevalence of undernourishment - a component of the Global Hunger Index - is increasing.
      • This shift may be a leading indicator of reversals in other measures of hunger.
    • Inequality - between regions, countries, districts, and communities - is pervasive and, left unchecked, will keep the world from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) mandate to “leave no one behind”.
    • Africa, South of the Sahara and South Asia are the world regions where hunger levels are highest. Hunger in both regions is considered serious.
  • Indian Scenario
    • Since 2000, India has made substantial progress, but there are still areas of concern, particularly regarding child nutrition.
    • India’s GHI score has decreased from a 2000 GHI score of 38.8 points - considered alarming - to a 2021 GHI score of 27.5 - considered serious.
    • The proportion of undernourished in the population and the under-five child mortality rate are now at relatively low levels.
    • While child stunting has seen a significant decrease - from 54.2% in 1998-1999 to 34.7% in 2016-2018 - it is still considered very high.
    • At 17.3%, India has the highest child wasting rate of all countries covered in the GHI. This rate is slightly higher than it was in 1998-1999, when it was 17.1%.
    • According to the Index, only 15 countries fare worse than India.
    • India was also behind most of the neighbouring countries. Pakistan was placed at 92, Nepal and Bangladesh at 76 and Sri Lanka at 65.
  • Government of India Stand:
    • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has criticised the report claiming that the methodology used by FAO is unscientific.
    • According to the Government, the Global Hunger Index Report 2021 and FAO report onThe State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021’ have completely ignored the following facts:
      • They have based their assessment on the results of a ‘four question’ opinion poll, which was conducted telephonically by Gallup.
        • The scientific measurement of undernourishment would require measurement of weight and Height, whereas the methodology involved here is based on a Gallup poll, based on a pure telephonic estimate of the population.
      • The report completely disregards Government’s massive effort to ensure food security of the entire population during the Covid period such as Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna (PMGKAY) and Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme (ANBS).

Some Related Initiatives by India

  • Eat Right India Movement: An outreach activity organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.
  • POSHAN Abhiyan: 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 Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana: A centrally sponsored scheme executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
  • Food Fortification: 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: It 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.
  • Mission Indradhanush: It targets children under 2 years of age and pregnant women for immunization against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD).
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme: Launched on 2nd October, 1975, the ICDS 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.

Source: TH

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