NEW DELHI: The Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranking has seen India’s ranking slipped further to 107 (out of 121) in 2022 from 101 (out of 116) in the previous year. The government has rejected the ranking calling the methodology “erroneous”. India is one of the lowest-ranked Asian economies in the latest list with only Afghanistan faring worse than it. As per the latest rankings, India’s GHI score is 29.1, which shows a level of hunger that is serious.
Any country that scored between 20 and 35 is considered to have a serious hunger issue. Worse, India’s GHI score is lower than that in 2014 (28.2), which necessarily means hunger levels have only gone up since 2014. One of the reasons for the fall in GHI ranking could be the distress created by the pandemic. Recently, a World Bank report has said that 56 million people were pushed to poverty in India due to the Covid-19. Economist Jayati Ghosh said that the slip in the GHI was expected “given the truly dreadful pandemic response”.
She said that the government excluded around 100 million poor people while distributing free ration during the pandemic as it was using poverty figures from 2011 to do so. The GHI shows that the proportion of undernourished in the population has gone up from 14.8% in 2014 to 16.3% in 2022. Prevalence of wasting in children below five years has also gone up from 15.1% in 2014 to 19.3% in 2022. The government in a strongly worded rebuttal to the latest rankings has said that the index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues.
“Three out of the four indicators used for calculation of the index are related to the health of Children and cannot be representative of the entire population. The fourth and most important indicator estimate of Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3000,” the government said in a statement on Saturday. The statement that the government listed out the measures taken to ensure food security in the country.