From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Global Hunger Index
Mains level : Food and nutrition security of India
The Global Hunger Index 2021 has ranked India at 101 positions out of a total 116 countries.
Note the parameters over which the GHI is based and their weightage composition.
Global Hunger Index (GHI)
- The Global Hunger Index is a peer-reviewed annual report, jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe.
- It determines hunger on a 100-point scale, where 0 is the best possible score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst.
- It is designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels.
- The aim of the GHI is to trigger action to reduce hunger around the world.
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 (poor) performance
- India is among the 31 countries where hunger has been identified as serious.
- Only 15 countries fare worse than India.
- Some of these include Afghanistan (103), Nigeria (103), Congo (105), Mozambique (106), Sierra Leone (106), Timor-Leste (108), Haiti (109), Liberia (110), Madagascar (111) and Somalia (116).
- India was also behind most of the neighbouring countries.
- Pakistan was placed at 92 rank, Nepal at 76 and Bangladesh also at 76.
Reasons for such poor performance
- Poor maternal health: Mothers are too young, too short, too thin and too undernourished themselves, before they get pregnant, during pregnancy, and then after giving birth, during breast-feeding.
- Poor sanitation: Poor sanitation, leading to diarrhoea, is another major cause of child wasting and stunting.
- Food insecurity: Low dietary diversity in India is also a key factor in child malnutrition.
- Poverty: Almost 50 million households in India are dependent on these small and marginal holdings.
- Livelihood loss: The rural livelihoods loss after COVID and lack of income opportunities other than the farm sector have contributed heavily to the growing joblessness in rural areas.
Issues over credibility of GHI
- India has ranked among many African countries while it is among the top 10 food-producing countries in the world.