India ranks 107 on Global Hunger Index 2022, govt calls it attempt to taint country’s image

Photo for representational purpose only. (Photo - AFP)

New Delhi, Oct 15 (PTI) India ranked 107 out of 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2022, much behind its South Asia neighbours, with the child wasting rate at 19.3 per cent, the highest in the world.

The Centre rejected the findings, alleging it is an effort to taint the country’s image and the index suffers from serious methodological issues and is an “erroneous measure” of hunger, while opposition leaders said the government must take responsibility for its “failure”.

With a score of 29.1, the level of hunger in India has been labelled “serious”.

In Asia, Afghanistan with a rank of 109 is the only country behind India.

Neighbouring countries – Pakistan (99), Bangladesh (84), Nepal (81) and Sri Lanka (64) have all fared better than India.

In 2021, India ranked 101 out of 116 countries while in 2020 the country was placed in 94th position.

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool for comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at global, regional, and national levels. It ”is a peer-reviewed annual report” jointly released by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, non-government organisations from Ireland and Germany respectively.

South Asia, the region with the world’s highest hunger level, has the highest child stunting rate and by far the highest child wasting rate in the world, the report said. “India’s child wasting rate, at 19.3 per cent, is the highest of any country in the world and drives up the region’s average owing to India’s large population,” it said.

India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan each have child stunting rates between 35 and 38 per cent, with Afghanistan’s rate being the highest in the region.

Undernourishment prevalence rose in India from 14.6 per cent in 2018-2020 to 16.3 per cent in 2019-2021. This translates into 224.3 million people in India being undernourished out of the total 828 million people globally.

Child wasting which is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five years of age also worsened from 15.1 per cent in 2012-16 to 19.3 per cent in 2017-21.

India, however, noted improvement in two parameters of child stunting from 38.7 per cent in 2012-16 to 35.5 per cent in 2017-21 and child mortality from 4.6 per cent in 2014 to 3.3 per cent in 2020.

The Women and Child Development ministry, in a statement, said 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 estimate of Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3000, it said.

The report is not only disconnected from ground reality but also chooses to deliberately ignore efforts made by the government to ensure food security for the population, especially during the Covid pandemic, the government said.

The ministry said, “A consistent effort is yet again visible to taint India’s image as a nation that does not fulfil the food security and nutritional requirements of its population. Misinformation seems to be the hallmark of the annually released Global Hunger Index.” “‘The index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues,” the ministry said.

The GHI said stunting disparities between districts were particularly pronounced in India.

“The example of India shows the importance of considering the subnational context when designing programs and policies to target child stunting. Researchers investigated the factors that contributed to a decline in stunting in four Indian states between 2006 and 2016: Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu,” it said. The report said the researchers found that stunting fell mainly in response to improvements in the coverage of health and nutrition interventions, household conditions (such as socioeconomic status and food security), and maternal factors (such as mothers’ health and education).

The GHI said the world is facing a serious setback in efforts to end hunger, with conflict, the climate crisis and the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounded by the war in Ukraine, being the major drivers of hunger.

The report warned that the situation is expected to deteriorate further as global crises overlap.

Opposition leaders targeted the Modi government over the report, with former finance minister P Chidambaram saying the Centre should address the “real issues” and spreading hate is not the antidote to hunger.

“When will the honourable PM address real issues like malnutrition, hunger, and stunting and wasting among children? 22.4 crore people in India are considered undernourished,” the Congress leader said.

“Our score has worsened since 2014 in the 8 years of the Modi government 16.3 per cent of all Indians are undernourished, meaning they do not get enough food,” he said in another tweet.

“19.3 per cent of children are wasted, 35.5 per cent of children are stunted Hindutva, imposing Hindi and spreading Hate are not the antidote to Hunger,” the tweeted.

The Nationalist Congress Party alleged that the central government neglected the development of children over the last eight years.

“Dangerous, sharp slide of India on global hunger index since 2014. Modi govt is disastrous for India. Low food stocks barely over minimum buffer plus rising prices,” Sitaram Yechury, Secretary-General of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) , said on Twitter, “Government must take responsibility for this era of darkness India has been brought to in 8.5 years. Enough of PR, spin & lies,” the Left leader tweeted.

In a swipe at the Centre, K T Rama Rao, Telangana minister and working president of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (previously TRS), said it is “yet another amazing achievement of NPA Govt”.

Instead of “accepting failure”, the BJP will dismiss the report as anti-Indian now, he tweeted.

Senior AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the BJP leaders give speeches about making India a 5-trillion economy. “But 106 countries, even Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, are better than us in providing two square meals a day,” he tweeted.

Priyanka Chaturvedi, an MP of the Uddhav Thackeray-faction Shiv Sena, tweeted; “Dear government of India, Trash this news quickly, discredit the methodology, question the ranking. However, the fact is that the poor are becoming poorer & you’ll are busy overdoing PR”.

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by The Sen Times staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds.
Source: PTI