What is it?
- The Global Hunger Index is an annual score ranking countries of the world on hunger levels.
- The Index is a peer-reviewed report released annually by Concern Worldwide (a humanitarian agency) and NGO Welthungerhilfe.
- It is based on 4 indicators:
- Child wasting – the share of children under the age of five who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition
- Child stunting – children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition
- Child mortality – the mortality rate of children under the age of five.
- Last year, the Global Hunger Index 2020 was released by Concern Worldwide and NGO Welthungerhilfe.
Highlights of the Report
- Overall, India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88). 2020 scores reflect data from 2015-19.
- According to the report, with a score of 27.2, India has a level of hunger that is “serious”. India’s rank was 102 out of 117 countries last year.
- India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition.
- The situation has worsened in the 2015-19 period, when the prevalence of child wasting was 17.3%, in comparison to 2010-14, when it was 15.1%.
- Although it is still in the poorest category, however, child stunting has actually improved significantly, from 54% in 2000 to less than 35% now.
- Child wasting, on the other hand, has not improved in the last two decades, and is rather worse than it was decades ago.
- India has improved in both child mortality rates, which are now at 3.7%, and in terms of undernourishment, with about 14% of the total population which gets an insufficient caloric intake.
- In the region of south, east and south-eastern Asia, the only countries which fare worse than India are Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and North Korea.
- South Asia has the highest child wasting rate for any region, and India is the worst performer.
- Globally, nearly 690 million people are undernourished, according to the report, which warns that the COVID-19 pandemic could have affected the progress made on reducing hunger and poverty.
- The report noted that the world is not on track to achieve the Goal 2 of Sustainable Development Goal (to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030).
Why in News?
- Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala, in a recent Rajya Sabha proceedings questioned the methodology and data accuracy of the Global Hunger Index report 2020, which has placed India at 94th out of 107 countries.
- Mr. Rupala claimed that children considered healthy were also counted to determine the ranking.
- The Minister said that the government had written to NGO Welthungerhilfe, which compiles the report, expressing concerns about their methodology, data accuracy and sample size and was yet to hear from them.
- In a written reply, the Ministry stated that according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-4, the percentage of wasted, stunted and malnourished children in 2015-16 stood at 21, 38.4 and 35.7, respectively.
- It said that compared to NFHS-4 data, the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) compiled in 2017-18 showed an improvement of 4%, 3.7% and 2.3% in wasted, stunted and malnourished children respectively.
- The first-ever CNNS was commissioned by the government in 2016 and was conducted from 2016-18, led by the Union Health Ministry, in collaboration with UNICEF.
- The findings were published in 2019. CNNS includes only nutrition data, whereas NFHS encompasses overall health indicators.