India suffers serious level of hunger, ranks 103 on global hunger index 2018

India suffers serious level of hunger, ranks 103 on global hunger index 2018

  • India came in at 103 out of 119 countries on the Global Hunger Index 2018.
  • The increasing problem of undernourishment makes India fall in a list with 45 countries having ‘serious level of hunger’.
  • India is behind many neighbouring countries like China, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The sustainable development agenda of removing poverty and hunger might seem like a dream to India despite being the world’s fastest developing economy. The recent Global Hunger Index 2018 (GHI) reveals that tackling hunger and undernutrition is a difficult task for the Modi Government. India stood 103rd on the Global Hunger Index along with Nigeria and has been categorised as a country with ‘serious’ levels of hunger.

The 13th edition of Global Hunger Index 2018 released by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide stated that although there has been a significant decline in the proportion of the undernourished population from 18.2% in 2000 to 14.8% in 2018, India still has GHI of 31.1 making the country fall in the ‘serious’ category. The best-performing countries have a GHI score as low as 5 (Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia etc).

The report uses four parameters to calculate the index - mainly proportion of undernourished in the population, prevalence of wasting in children under five years, the prevalence of stunting in children under five years and the mortality rate under five years of age. Out of the four parameters, three are dedicated to children below the age of five years. And in all this, India performed poorly with a GHI score of 30.5.

Currently, the scores for three out of the four parameters have shown a declining trend. In contrast, a rising trend can be witnessed in the prevalence of wasting in children under five years. The proportion of undernourished in population was dropped to 14.8% from 18.2% in 2000 whereas the prevalence of wasting in children under five years was recorded at 21% (2.9% more since 2000). The prevalence of stunting in children under five years and under-five year mortality were 38.4% and 4.3% respectively.

And when compared to the neighbours?

Despite a 0.3 point improvement from 2017, many neighbouring countries like China (25th), Sri Lanka (67th), Myanmar (68th), Nepal (72nd) and Bangladesh (86th) stood ahead of India. Although, the country has done far better than Pakistan which stood at 106th position, coming in at 103 does not look good.

While it can be supposed that India’s rank fell because the other countries fared better, the GHI report stated that it is not possible to derive at an accurate conclusion as there are many factors which determine GHI scores.

Critic speak

Opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi tweeted a Hindi newspaper report mentioning the negligence of Modi-Government on hunger and poverty in India.

Apart from Rahul Gandhi, several other Congress members including Keshav Chand Yadav, Biswaranjan Mohanty criticised the government on its failed attempt to eradicate hunger. The opposition pointed out that India’s GHI rank has dropped from 55 in 2014 to 103 in 2018.

The people suffering from chronic hunger accounts for 124 million out of the total world population. Moreover, there are 151 million stunted and 51 million children wasting away across the globe.

India’s huge economic divide with the likes of billionaires like Mukesh Ambani earning ₹3 billion per day while 21% of its population lives below the poverty line implies that only 1% of India;s population holds 50% of the nation’s wealth. According to a World Bank report published on 27 May 2016, One in every five people is poor in India and hence cannot access basic necessities like food and water.