GLOBAL HUNGER INDEX – 2021    INDIA’S REPORT CARD  [ GS paper II- SOCIAL JUSTICE ]

CONTEXT: In the latest Global Hunger Index 2021, India slips to 101st spot, behind Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal

only 15 Countries faring worse than India this year, like-

  1.  Papua New Guinea (102)

  2.  Afghanistan (103)

  3.  Nigeria (103)

  4.  Congo (105) 

SOME BASIC INFORMATION : The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool that measures and tracks hunger globally, region-wise and country-wise, prepared by European NGOs of Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.

The Global Hunger Index uses a 100-point scale, with higher scores indicating higher hubder levels. The severity of hunger associated with the range of possible GHI scores is as follows:

LEVEL                               VALUE

LOW                                    9.9

MODERATE                        10-19.9

SERIOUS                            20-34.9

ALARMING                         35-49.9

EXTREMELY ALARMING    >/= 50

The GHI combines 4 component indicators:

  1. The proportion of the undernourished as a percentage of the population (PoU).

  2. the proportion of children under five suffering from wasting, a sign of acute undernutrition  (low weight-for-height)

  3. the proportion of children under five suffering from stunted growth, a sign of chronic undernutrition (low height-for-age)

  4. child mortality under the age of five

In the 2021 Global Hunger Index– 

India :

  • Ranks 101st out of the 116 countries [ 94 (out of 107) in 2020]

  • India scored 27.5  → that is serious level of Hunger

  • India has got a poor ranking in terms of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) in the Global Hunger Report (GHR) .

  • India shows a worsening in PoU and childhood wasting in comparison with 2012.

REACTION OF GOI- 

  • The Government objected the methodology of the Global Hunger Index.

  • The Government of India, through a press release, refuted the GHI, claiming that it is ‘devoid of ground reality’ and based on ‘unscientific’ methodology.

  • The Government is contesting the PoU figure of 15.3% for 2018-20.

  • In opposition to the view of GOI, The report is not based on the Gallup poll; rather, it is on the PoU data that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) puts out regularly.

    A/c FAO, PoU→  is an estimate of the proportion of the population whose habitual food consumption is insufficient to provide the dietary energy levels that are required to maintain a normal active and healthy life.

PoU is estimated taking into account a number of factors-

  •  such as food availability

  • food consumption patterns

  •  income levels and distribution

  •  population structure, etc.

 All the data used are from official data sources of respective national governments.

The partial results of the National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-20) also show that stunting and wasting indicators have stagnated or declined for most States for which data is available.

 →    It must also be remembered that all the data are for the period before the COVID-19 pandemic and things are most likely to have become worse after the second wave. 

Many of these surveys find that over 60% of the respondents say that they are eating less than before the national lockdown in 2020.

 Services such as the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and school mid-day meals continue to be disrupted in most areas, denying crores of children the one nutritious meal a day they earlier had access to. 

The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected food security and nutrition across the world.

 In countries such as India , the situation has worsened.

Cuts for schemes

The provision of additional free foodgrains through the Public Distribution System (PDS), has also been lacking. It leaves out about 40% of the population, many of whom are in need and includes only cereals.

At the same time, inflation in other foods, especially edible oils, has also been very high affecting people’s ability to afford healthy diets. 

The argument that the GHI is an indicator of undernutrition and not hunger, is only diverting attention away from more substantial issues.

plutus ias daily current affairs 26 Oct 2021