The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a crucial tool for assessing and tracking hunger worldwide. It is compiled by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in partnership with Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. The GHI combines four key indicators:
Undernourishment: This measures the proportion of the population with insufficient caloric intake to meet their dietary energy requirements.
Child Stunting: This indicates the percentage of children under the age of five who suffer from low height-for-age, reflecting chronic undernutrition.
Child Wasting: This assesses the percentage of children under the age of five who have low weight-for-height, a sign of acute undernutrition.
Child Mortality: This represents the mortality rate of children under the age of five, which can be influenced by malnutrition.
These indicators are essential for understanding the state of hunger and malnutrition globally, regionally, and nationally. Data for these indicators is collected through surveys, including national surveys like India's National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
India's ranking in the GHI has been low, currently at 111 out of 125 countries. Several factors contribute to this ranking, including undernourishment and child malnutrition.
However, it's important to note that the Indian government disputes this ranking, primarily due to differences in data sources and methodologies, especially concerning child wasting.
While India uses data from its Poshan Tracker portal, GHI relies on the National Family Health Survey 5, aiming for consistency across all countries.
In summary, the Global Hunger Index provides a comprehensive view of hunger using multiple indicators. India's low ranking is attributed to factors like undernourishment and child malnutrition, but there is a dispute over the methodology and data sources used in the assessment.
Government's Response to GHI 2023 Report
Methodological Concerns: The Women and Child Development Ministry criticized the GHI 2023 report for serious methodological issues, stating it's an unreliable measure of hunger. Child Health Focus: The ministry argued that three out of the four indicators in the GHI focus solely on child health, making the index unrepresentative for the entire population. PoU Critique: The "Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) Population," a key GHI indicator, is based on a small sample size of 3,000 via an opinion poll, further questioning its accuracy. Child Wasting Stats: The ministry pointed out a discrepancy in child wasting figures, stating that their data shows figures consistently below 7.2%, as opposed to GHI's 18.7%. Child Mortality: The ministry contends that there is limited evidence to directly link child mortality to hunger, challenging another GHI indicator.
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