Global Hunger Index 2023

Global Hunger Index 2023

News: Recently, Global Hunger Index 2023 was released by Concern Worldwide (Irish NGO) and Welt Hunger Hilfe (German NGO).
• India has been placed at 111th position out of 125 countries.
• In the 2022 edition, India was placed at 107th position out of 121 countries.

Key Findings:
• The progress of hunger reduction efforts was rapid till 2015. However, after 2015, the hunger reduction efforts have not brought such rapid decline in the global hunger levels.
• The compounding impacts of climate change, conflicts, economic shocks, the global pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war have exacerbated social and economic inequalities and slowed or reversed previous progress in reducing hunger in many countries.
• Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, China and Croatia are the top five countries in GHI 2023. Chad, Niger, Lesotho, Congo, Yemen, Madagascar, and Central African Republic are the countries ranked at the bottom of the index.

What is the methodology of calculation of GHI?
• The GHI score of each country is calculated based on a formula combining four indicators

IndicatorDescriptionIndia’s score
UndernourishmentThe share of the population with insufficient caloric intake16.6%
Child wastingThe share of children under age five who have low weight for their height. 
It indicates acute under nutrition.
Child mortalityThe share of children who die before their fifth birthday. 
It reflects the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments.
Child stuntingThe share of children under age five who have low height for their age. Reflects chronic under nutrition35.5%

Why has Indian government criticized the methodology of Global Hunger Index?
• Erroneous Measure of Hunger: The government has described the GHI 2023 as an “erroneous measure of hunger” and has rejected the findings as it 'suffers from serious methodological issues'.
• Child Health Indicators: The Union ministry argued that three of the four indicators on which the index is calculated are related to the health of children and thus, it cannot be representative of the entire population.
• Small Sample Size: The fourth and 'most important indicator ‘Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population’ is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3000'.
• Child Wasting Percentage: The government said the proportion of child wasting, as determined from ‘Poshan Tracker’ is consistently below 7.2% month-on-month, as compared to 18.7% in the Global Hunger Index 2023.
• Lack of Evidence: There is hardly any evidence that child mortality (one of four indicators) is an outcome of hunger.

How has Government of India addressed the Hunger challenges?
• The implementation of National Food Security Act 2013 has legally entitled 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
• POSHAN Abhiyan- It has been launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2018. It targets to reduce stunting, under nutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls).
• Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) - The Central Government launched PMGKAY with the specific purpose of ameliorating the hardships faced by the poor and needy due to economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19.
• Eat Right India Movement- An outreach activity organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for citizens to nudge them towards healthy eating.
• Food Fortification Programs - Food Fortification is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content. Food fortification has been launched by the government to fight the micro-nutrient deficiency (also known as Hidden Hunger)
• Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 - It is an Integrated Nutrition Support Programme to address the challenges of malnutrition in children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Way Forward
• Implement one nation one ration card scheme
• Address the deficiencies of PDS (Technical and Aadhar related issues)
• Involve NGO’s, CSO. It is important to use their services. For example, AkshayPatra foundation serves hot, nutritious and tasty midday meals as part of PM Poshan Yojana to over 2 million children in 15 states and 2 UT’s of India.
• Encourage farmers to grow millets and provide for Millets in PM Poshan schemes in schools. For example, Gujarat government has made it mandatory to provide Shree Anna (Millets) in the Mid-day meals for students.

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