Hunger and Nutrition Issues – GHI, GNI, etc.

Global Hunger Index 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GHI

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • The Global Hunger Index 2019 was recently released.

Global Hunger Index (GHI)

  • The GHI has been brought out almost every year by Welthungerhilfe lately in partnerships with Concern Worldwide since 2000; this year’s report is the 14th one.
  • The reason for mapping hunger is to ensure that the world achieves “Zero Hunger by 2030” — one of the SDGs laid out by the United Nations.
  • A low score gets a country a higher ranking and implies a better performance.
  • It is for this reason that GHI scores are not calculated for certain high-income countries.
  • Each country’s data are standardised on a 100-point scale and a final score is calculated after giving 33.33% weight each to components 1 and 4, and giving 16.66% weight each to components 2 and 3.

For each country in the list, the GHI looks at four indicators:

  • Undernourishment (which reflects inadequate food availability): calculated by the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient)
  • Child Wasting (which reflects acute undernutrition): calculated by the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, those who have low weight for their height)
  • Child Stunting (which reflects chronic undernutrition): calculated by the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, those who have low height for their age)
  • Child Mortality (which reflects both inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environment): calculated by the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

India’s performance

  • The latest GHI has ranked India a lowly 102 among the 117 countries it has mapped.
  • India is one of the 47 countries that have “serious” levels of hunger.
  • In 2018, India was pegged at 103 but last year 119 countries were mapped.
  • So while the rank is one better this year, in reality, India is not better off in comparison to the other countries.

Global scene

  • On the whole, the 2019 GHI report has found that the number of hungry people has risen from 785 million in 2015 to 822 million.
  • It further states that “multiple countries have higher hunger levels now than in 2010, and approximately 45 countries are set to fail to achieve ‘low’ levels of hunger by 2030”.

India’s score relative to its neighbors

  • Among the BRICS grouping, India is ranked the worst, with China at 25 and a score of just 6.5.
  • Within South Asia, too, India is behind every other country.
  • Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan (in that order) are all ahead of India.

Why is India ranked so low on GHI?

  • There is one category — Child Wasting, that is, children with low weight for their age — where India has worsened.
  • In other words, the percentage of children under the age of 5 years suffering from wasting has gone up from 16.5 in 2010 to 20.8 now.
  • Wasting is indicative of acute undernutrition and India is the worst among all countries on this parameter.
  • India’s child wasting rate is extremely high at 20.8 percent — the highest wasting rate of any country in this report for which data or estimates were available.
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