The government has described the Global Hunger Index 2023, which ranked India at 111 among 125 countries, as an “erroneous measure of hunger” and has rejected the findings as it “suffers from serious methodological issues”.
The Global Hunger Index released by Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe, non-government organisations from Ireland and Germany respectively, has ranked India even below its neighbouring countries Pakistan (102th), Bangladesh (81st), Nepal (69th) and Sri Lanka (60th).
This year’s index showed a four-place slip as in 2022 India ranked 107th out of 121.
The Global Hunger Index continues to be a flawed measure of ‘Hunger’ and it does not reflect India’s true position, a statement from the ministry of women and child development said.
The Union ministry argued that three of the four indicators on which the index is calculated are related to the health of children and thus, it cannot be representative of the entire population.
It added that the fourth and “most important indicator ‘Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population’ is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3000.”
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Key findings from Global Hunger Index 2023
• With a score of 28.7 on the Global Hunger Index-2023, India has a serious level of serious hunger, the report said.
• It added that the rate of undernourishment in India stood at 16.6 per cent and under-five mortality at 3.1 per cent.
• The prevalence of anaemia in women aged between 15 and 24 years stood at 58.1 per cent, according to the controversial index.
• It ranked the country reporting the highest child-wasting rate, which is based on children’s weight relative to their height, at 18.7 per cent.
India’s response to the report
• The government said the proportion of child wasting, as determined from ‘Poshan Tracker’ is consistently below 7.2% month-on-month, as compared to 18.7% in the Global Hunger Index 2023.
• The Poshan Tracker app is a real-time monitoring tool developed and deployed by the ministry of women and child development and used to formulate important policy decisions.
• In its statement, the government said that it has prioritised several key activities to address the challenge of malnutrition under Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 (Mission Poshan 2.0).
• Additionally, it said, that under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) a total quantity of approximately 1118 lakh tonnes of food grains had been allocated under the scheme in 28 months for nearly 80 crore beneficiaries.