Government slams ‘methodology’ after India’s position tanks in Global Hunger Index

The Government on Friday challenged India’s poor ranking in the the Global Hunger Index 2021 and the methodology used calling it “devoid of ground reality and facts”.

The Index launched on Thursday ranked India at 101 position of 116 countries. India is also among the 31 countries where hunger has been identified as serious. India ranked 94 among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) released last year.

Government slams ‘methodology’ after India’s position tanks in Global Hunger Index

Four-question opinion poll

“The publishing agencies of the Global Hunger Report, Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe have not done their due diligence before releasing the report. The methodology used by FAO is unscientific. They have based their assessment on the results of a ‘four question’ opinion poll, which was conducted telephonically by Gallup,” the Ministry of Women and Child Development said in a statement.

According to the Index, only 15 countries fare worse than India. They are Papua New Guinea (102), Afghanistan and Nigeria (103), Congo (105), Mozambique and Sierra Leone (106), Timor-Leste (108), Haiti (109), Liberia (110), Madagascar (111), Democratic Republic of Congo (112), Chad (113), Central African Republic (114), Yemen (115) and Somalia (116).

India was also behind most of the neighbouring countries. Pakistan was placed at 92, Nepal and Bangladesh at 76 and Sri Lanka at 65.

The Government has contested the performance of these neighbouring countries on the Index.

“It is noted with surprise, from the FAO report ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021’, that other four countries of this region — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka — have not been affected at all by COVID-19 pandemic induced loss of job/business and reduction in income levels, rather they have been able to improve their position on the indicator ‘proportion of undernourished population’ by 4.3%, 3.3%, 1.3% and 0.8% points respectively during the period 2018-20 over 2017-19," the statement adds.

The GHI scores are based on the values of four component indicators — undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting and child mortality. Based on the values of the four indicators, the GHI determines hunger on a 100-point scale, where 0 is the best possible score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst. Each country’s GHI score is classified by severity, from low to extremely alarming.

Undernourishment data are provided by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and child mortality data are sourced from the U.N. Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME). Child wasting and stunting data are drawn from the joint database of UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, among others.

It is the FAO report used for assessing undernourishment that the Government has questioned. This is also the only indicator in the report that has shown deterioration in India, the other three either show an improvement or have remained unchanged.

Proportion of population undernourished

The Government has questioned the poll-based assessment that “has increased the value of ‘proportion of population undernourished’ from 14.0% for the previous period 2017-19 to 15.3% for the latest period 2018-20,” according to an official.

According to the FAO report, prevalence of undernourishment in a population is calculated in a very scientific manner that includes habitual dietary energy intake levels, information on the population structure and median height in each sex and age.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 3:11:01 PM |

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