Govt criticizes latest Global Hunger Index for tarnishing India’s image

Global Hunger Index (GHI) report for 2022 was slammed Saturday by the Centre, which claimed that India’s ranking at 107 represents an ongoing campaign to tarnish the country’s image as “a nation that does not meet its population’s nutritional needs”.

The government stated that this Index “suffers from serious issues with its methodology”.

The GHI is jointly released jointly by Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe, non-government organisations that are based in Ireland in Ireland and Germany respectively, tracks and measures monitor hunger at the regional, global and even country level.

Of the 121 countries listed on the GHI, India is ranked in the bottom of its neighbors Nepal (81), Pakistan (99), Sri Lanka (64) along with Bangladesh (84). With 19.3 per cent the rate of child loss in India is among the highest in the world, as the latest GHI report indicates.

Ministry of Women and Child Development, in a statement Women and Child Development Ministry in a statement, stated, “A consistent effort is once again evident in the taint of the image of India as a nation that fails to meet the nutritional security and food security needs of its citizens. The misinformation is the main cause of the annually published Global Hunger Index.”

The ministry explained its position. Ministry stated that three of the indicators that are used in making the calculation for this index have a connection to the health of children and can’t be representative of all people.

“The Fourth and most crucial indicator estimation of the Proportion of the Undernourished (PoU) Population is basing itself on an opinion survey that was conducted with a small sample of 3000 people,” it said.

The report isn’t just detached from reality but also chooses to overlook efforts by the government to provide an adequate food supply for its people, especially during the Covid pandemic the government stated.

On Saturday the senior Congress leader and MP P Chidambaram Saturday took his whack at his Narendra Modi-led Central administration over India sliding to 107th place in the GHI 2022.

The Centre stated that the report lowers India’s ranking according to the estimation of the Proportion of the Undernourished (PoU) population of India at 16.3 per cent.

In the report, it is stated that the issue was addressed to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in order to not use estimates that are based upon FIES (Food Insecurity Experience Scale) survey module data until July 2022, as the “statistical results of the FIES is not determined by merit”.

“Though there was a promise that there would be more involvement on this issue but the announcement of the Global Hunger Index report irrespective of these factual concerns will be a source of regret,” the ministry added.

The per-capita energy intake for dietary consumption in India according to FAO using its Food Balance Sheets, has increased year over year due to the increased production of key agricultural commodities in the nation through the years, and there is no reason to believe that the undernutrition levels in India could increase as well, the Centre stated.

The ministry stated that the other three indicators, apart from PoU that are included in the Global Hunger Index relate primarily to children, viz. stunting loss of appetite and five mortality.

“These indicators result from complex interactions with other elements like drinking sanitation, water environmental conditions, genetics and the use of food intake aside from the issue of hunger. It is regarded as the cause or outcome factor in the growth and wasting of GHI. The calculation of hunger using primarily indicators related to the health indicators of children is not science-based nor rational,” it said.

The government emphasized that it has taken various measures to ensure that food security. “In the aftermath of economic disturbances brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak that has been unprecedented in the country as well, COVID-19 has been a major issue for the country. Government in March of 2020 declared that it would distribute additional foodgrains at no cost (Rice/Wheat) to around eighty Crore National Food Security Act (NFSA) recipients on the level of 5kg for each person in a month, under the Prime Minister’s Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) which is over and over the normal month-long NFSA foodsgrains i.e. regular entitlements on their food ration cards. Thereby, effectively doubling the quantity of monthly foodgrains being normally delivered to the NFSA households, so that the poor, needy and the vulnerable households/beneficiaries do not suffer on account of non-availability of adequate foodgrains during the times of economic crisis,” it said.

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