Global Hunger Index | Only 3.9% children malnourished, says government

Govt says data in Global Hunger Index inflated

Updated - October 18, 2021 02:16 pm IST

Published - October 17, 2021 08:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Photo used for representation purpose only. File

Photo used for representation purpose only. File

The value of a key indicator used in the Global Hunger Index is ‘inflated’ as there are only 3.9% anganwadi children found to be undernourished, the Government said on Sunday.

“The real time data of beneficiaries registered on the Anganwadi platform include 7.79 crore children aged between 6 months to 6 years as per real-time Poshan Tracker data [as on 16-10-2021]. Corresponding number of undernourished children reported on Poshan Tracker is 30.27 lakh which comes to only 3.9%,” according to a reply from the Ministry of Women and Child Development to a report in The Hindu , “ Global Hunger Index not based on an opinion poll ”, published on October 17.

It said, “These beneficiaries are representative of the poorest strata of society and the low levels of undernourishment in them surely reflects that the Indian data is highly inflated due to wrong methodology.”

The GHI 2021 ranked India at 101 position out of 116 countries. The index is based on four indicators — under-nourishment, wasting, stunting and under-five mortality. Of these, India’s performance is shown to deteriorate only for undernourishment, which is what the Government has challenged. According to FAO’s data, which is used in the Index, the prevalence of undernourishment in India rose from 14% in 2017-2019 to 15.3% in 2018-2020 which the Government has called exaggerated.

Selective approach

The Government has also alleged that there has been a “selective approach adopted by the publishing agencies to deliberately lower India’s rank on the GHI 2021” by relying on higher values of indicators such as stunting and wasting from different datasets available.

The Government also maintains that it is not possible to evaluate the extent of malnutrition for the period before 2018 as there were no growth monitoring devices available at anganwadis until they were introduced under the Poshan Abhiyaan.

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