India Drops to 101 Ranks in the Global Hunger Index

The Food and Agricultural Organization released a report titled “The Global Hunger Index” that puts India at a lowly 101st position in 116 countries. India could only score 27.5 in the GHI score, which became the reason for its poor performance. Last year, India’s ranking in the same report was at 94th.

Pakistan at 92, Bangladesh and Nepal (both at 76) are in a better position than India in the Global Hunger Index, which sums up the problematic situation regarding the health of its citizens. The report also called India’s hunger problem ‘alarming’. Data from 135 countries were evaluated, but only 116 countries could be ranked since 19 countries failed to provide sufficient data.

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India has shown many signs of improvement in the mortality rate of children below 5, but the problem of Stunting and malnourishment of children has grown in the last 1 year. This shows that COVID problems in 2020 hit a lot of Indians financially as the daily wage workers lost their jobs, resulting in negligible earning and more hunger problems.

Furthermore, in 2021, it will be difficult to counter problems that lead to Hunger issue, said the GHI report. Covid-19 is the biggest problem, along with drastic climate changes and conflict. All three will act as a deterrent in creating ideal conditions for solving Hunger and malnutrition-related problems.

As many as 18 countries topped the list with a GHI score of less than 5. The list includes Brazil, Turkey and China, as well as Kuwait and Belarus. Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe, a German organization, prepared the report jointly.

What is the Global Hunger Index?

It is a tool or a process that measures and calculates regional, country-wise and global level of hungry people. It is calculated every year and reports based on European NGOs, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe are taken into account.

Initially created in 2006, the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute and the German Welthungerhlife published its report for the first time. The Irish NGO Concern Worldwide became a co-publisher next year in 2007. However, in 2018, IFPRI moved away from the project and since then, Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhlife have been handling the GHI.

There are four parameters on which the score of the Global Hunger Index is calculated:

  • Total percentage of malnourished in the population
  • Total percentage of ‘Wasted’ children under five years of age whereas Wasting is a form of life-threatening malnutrition
  • Total percentage of children under five years of age suffering from ‘Stunting’ whereas Stunting is lack of proper physical development of a child according to his/her age
  • The mortality rate of children under the age of 5

The statistics to calculate GHI score through all the above-mentioned parameters are taken from UN sources like Food and Agricultural Organization, World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Bank and Demographic and Health Surveys.

Steps to Find GHI Score

Firstly, standardized score is given to each of the component. The score is based on a 100 point scale of the highest observed level globally.

Secondly, the scores are aggregated, keeping in mind the three parameters of low food supply, child mortality and child malnutrition are given equal weightage. On the basis of this, the GHI score of a country is calculated.

A score of 100 in GHI is considered the worst, while a score of 0 is the best. However none of either two score is reached since it’s not practically possible for any country not to have a single malnutrition child. Similarly, it is also not possible that a country did not have a single child who was not malnourished.

The scores in the GHI are a reflection of poor nutrition and caloric deficiencies. While nutrition ratio of the whole population is taken into account, the inclusion of both child wasting and child stunting enables the GHI to mark acute and chronic malnutrition. Combining all indicators, the GHI score lessens the chances of random errors in measurement. 

According to the data, the ratio of hungry people has gone down across the World. Currently, the GHI score of Hunger worldwide has decreased to 18.2 from 28.2 in early 2000s.

As expected, hunger level and ratio fluctuate as per the regions of the World. In Europe, there are few hungry people, while places in Sub Sahara and South Asia have the highest ratio of people unable to eat properly.

This is the reason why most of the children in these two regions are stunted and wasted. To clarify further, Sub Sahara has the most significant child mortality rate while South Asia has the highest number of wasted children.