Global Hunger Index: India ranks 97 among 118 countries

According to the 2016 Global Hunger Index report, India continues to have ‘serious’ hunger score with a low rank of 97 in the list of 118 developing countries prepared by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Hunger India
Image credit: Tom Pietrasik

India is behind the South Asian countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, but ahead of Pakistan and three other Asian countries with a score of 28.5. Last year, it was ranked 80 in the list of 104 countries for which the GHI was calculated.

Although the country’s performance has improved from a score of 36 in 2008 to the current year’s 28.5, the speed with which it should be improved is not enough to meet the goal of ending the hunger by the deadline of year 2013 set by United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.

IFPRI states in its report, “If hunger declines at the same rate as the report finds it has since 1992, more than 45 countries – including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan – will still have “moderate” to “alarming” hunger scores in the year 2030, far short of the goal to end hunger by that year.”

While India has improved its score on various parameters over the past few years, two out of five children below five years of age are stunted in India. Stunting measures chronic malnutrition and affected children’s height would be considerably below the average for their age.

“Simply put, countries must accelerate the pace at which they are reducing hunger or we will fail to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal,” said IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan. “Ending global hunger is certainly possible, but it’s up to all of us that we set the priorities right to ensure that governments, the private sector and civil society devote the time and resources necessary to meet this important goal.”

P K Joshi, IFPRI director for South Asia told Business Standard, “India is slated to become the world’s most populous nation in just six years, and it’s crucial that we meet this milestone with a record of ensuring that the expected 1.4 billion Indians have enough nutritious food to lead healthy and successful lives,” said. “India is making tremendous progress – but we have significant challenges ahead.”

The countries that are have the ‘alarming’ hunger scores are: Central African Republic, Chad, Zambia, Haiti, Madagascar, Yemen and Sierra Leone. The countries from the list that have the lowest hunger scores and are performing better than the others in the list are: Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Estonia, Croatia, Kuwait, Lithuania, Latvia, Montenegro, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Ukraine with hunger scores lower than 5.

However, there are a few bright spots, according to the report. The level of hunger in developing countries as measured by the Global Hunger Index has fallen by 29 percent since 2000. Twenty countries, including Rwanda, Cambodia, and Myanmar, have all reduced their GHI scores by over 50 percent each since 2000. And for the second year in a row, no developing countries for which data was available were in the “extremely alarming” category.

The GHI is calculated on the basis of four indicators listed as follows:
Undernourishment: the proportion of undernourished people as a percentage of the population (reflecting the share of the population whose caloric intake is insufficient;
Child wasting: the proportion of children under the age of five who suffer from wasting (that is, low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition);
Child stunting: the proportion of children under the age of five who suffer from stunting (that is, low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and
Child mortality: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (partially reflecting the fatal synergy of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

Since 2015, GHI scores were calculated using a new and improved formula. The revision replaces child underweight, previously the only indicator of child undernutrition, with two indicators of child undernutrition—child wasting and child stunting.
Also Read: 13 Deaths A Reminder Of Malnutrition in India’s Most Industrialised State




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