NEW DELHI: The government on Friday questioned the methodology and data accuracy of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, alleging that children considered healthy were also counted to determine the ranking.
Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala also informed the Rajya Sabha 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.
Rupala made the statement while responding to a question by the AAP’s Sanjay Singh, who said the minister’s written reply showed that India’s ranking had improved from 102 in 2019 to 94 in 2020.
Singh asked the minister about India’s poor ranking as to why India was ranked below countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar when it was among the top 10 food-producing countries in the world.
Rupala replied: “Some NGO has done the survey. We have asked them on what basis have reached this conclusion? They have not replied yet. Whenever a street dog gives birth in our village, even though it bites, our women provide them with sheer (sweet dish). So, in a country where such a tradition exists, and an NGO comes and releases such a report about our children, we should not be sensitive to such reports. As far as these surveys are concerned, even healthy and strong children are counted...there should be awareness in society, our dynamic minister Smriti (Irani) ji has started a Jan Andolan, and 13 crore events have been done.”
India was ranked at the 94th position out of 107 countries that were studied.
The government has flagged its concerns with German organisation Welthungerhilfe on "appropriateness, accuracy and representativeness of data" used to calculate the level of hunger in India, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed Parliament on Friday.
Tomar, during Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha, said the Global Hunger Index (GHI) Report 2020 -- published jointly by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe -- has given a score of 27.2 for India and ranked the country at 94 out of 107.
Whereas in the GHI Report 2019, India had scored 30.3 and was ranked 102 out of 117.
"This shows improvement towards reducing hunger in the country as the GHI score has reduced from 30.3 to 27.2 during the period 2019 to 2020," the minister said.
However, the government has "raised concerns of the country with Welthungerhilfe regarding appropriateness, accuracy and representativeness of data used for calculation of the level of hunger in India," he said.
Tomar mentioned that the Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) conducted in 2017-28 showed an improvement in indicators -- wasting, stunting and undernutrition -- when compared to data enumerated from National Family Survey 4 (NFHS-4) in 2015-16.
These three indicators are used at the national level for measurement of the prevalence of undernourishment, he added.
The minister also highlighted several measures, including Mission Poshan, National Food Security Act, among others, that are being taken to address hunger and malnutrition in the country.
(With PTI Inputs)