India slips four places in global hunger index rankings; govt criticises report | Mint – Mint

New Delhi: India with a score of 28.7 ranked 111th of 125 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2023, according to a report released on Thursday. The country’s Ministry of Women and Child Development has said that the rankings are “flawed” and did not depict India’s true position.
The GHI ranked Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka at 102nd, 81st, 69th, and 60th, respectively. In 2022, India ranked 107th out of 121.
“The GHI continues to be a flawed measure of hunger and does not reflect India’s true position. The index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues. Three out of the four indicators used for the calculation of the index are related to the health of children and cannot be representative of the entire population. The fourth and most important indicator Proportion of Undernourished population (PoU) is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3,000,” the ministry said in a statement.
South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara recorded the highest regional hunger levels, both with a GHI score of 27.
The report, by Irish NGO Concern Worldwide and German NGO Welt Hunger Hilfe, highlighted India’s child wasting rate at 18.7%, the highest globally, signalling acute undernutrition.
Wasting is measured based on children’s weight relative to their height. India’s prevalence of undernourishment rate is at 16.6% while its under-five mortality rate is 3.1%.

ALSO READ: ‘One in ten worldwide go to bed hungry every night,’ reveals UN food chief

The Indian government pointed to its Poshan Tracker, noting child wasting figures consistently under 7.2%, contrasting the GHI’s 18.7%.
The Global Hunger Index is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels. As per the latest report south Asia and sub-saharan Africa  have the highest hunger levels with scores indicating ‘serious’ hunger. 
The 2023 Global Hunger Index also showed that despite extensive efforts, worldwide progress against hunger remains largely at a standstill. As the demand for food continues to increase, UN officials say that up to 783 million people — one in 10 of the world’s population — go to bed hungry every night. More than 345 million people are facing high levels of food insecurity this year, an increase of almost 200 million people from early 2021 before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are now living with a series of concurrent and long-term crises that will continue to fuel global humanitarian needs. This is the humanitarian community’s new reality — our new normal — and we will be dealing with the fallout for years to come,” the head of World Food Programme said recently.
The Indian government continues to prioritize nutrition initiatives. Over 1.39 milllion Anganwadi centres have joined the Poshan Tracker ICT application, aiding more than 100.3 million beneficiaries. The app uses WHO’s tables to monitor child health metrics. Anganwadi workers have been trained nationwide on these growth measures, according to the official statement.
Moreover, India introduced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) in light of the pandemic-led economic disruptions, providing over 111.8 million tonne of food grains in 28 months to nearly 800 million beneficiaries.
(With inputs from agencies)
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