The Global Hunger Index (GHI) of 2017 indicates that the world hunger has reduced by 27% from 2000. According to the 2017 score, only Somalia, South Sudan and Syria
raised concern. That being said, some reports by Indian Media on Global Hunger Index painted India in a pathetic light, dropping it by a distressing 44 ranks. While, hunger is a problem in India, the drop in ranking was little too much to process. Opposition and Media took no time in blaming the Current Government but soon it was known that there was more to the story than meets the eyes.
First the technical part:
The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is calculated using following indicators:
1. The proportion of undernourished as a percentage of population.
2. Proportion of children under age of 5 suffering from wasting.
3. Proportion of children under age of 5 suffering from stunting.
4. Mortality rate.
The GHI of India has consistently reduced (lesser the better) from 1992 to 2016, from 46.2 in 1992 to 28.5 in 2016, but in 2017, the GHI of India increased to 31.4.
In 2014, Only 76 Countries were rated for the Global Hunger Index and countries below GHI of 5 were excluded from being ranked. Ever since 2015, countries with below 5 GHI Score were included in the ratings too. The drastic fall in India’s rating sounded intuitively wrong to Hindol Sengupta (Editor-at-large, Fortune India). So he emailed IFPRI which publishes this report to ask – could this really be true? Here’s what IFPRI has to say about it:
The change in India’s Rank is due far more to a change in the calculation rather that a change in India’s situation. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) rankings in 2014 did not include any countries rated with “low” hunger levels (as determined by the report). That year there were 44 such countries, all of which would have ranked above India. Were those countries included in the ranking that year India would have not been ranked 55, but 99.
So to compare the two reports directly and conclude India has fallen 45 positions would be grossly inaccurate and misleading.
The source of this statement is a reply by Drew Sample to Hindol Sengupta’s Mail
Amid the din of the fake news, some genuine concerns got buried.
1. India has the highest number of stunted children in the world, 48.5 Million.
2. 20% of India’s children suffering from wasting.
3. India also has a very high mortality rate among children.
Drew hit the nail on its head when he said – Hunger remains a serious challenge for India, and the GHI demonstrates the country still has quite a long way to go to eliminate hunger. Several of it’s neighbors (Bangladesh and Nepal), have reduced their GHI scores much more than India. An accurate reading of the GHI still shows reason for India be concerned about high hunger levels. But claiming the country has witnessed such a precipitous fall in the global fight to eliminate hunger is very misleading.
So, it is quite obvious that India has a long way to go. India needs to make sure that no child in the country goes to sleep hungry but spreading misinformation and fake news and giving India a bad name all across the world is certainly not the way forward. The Frequency at which the Mainstream Media of this country is dishing out fake news is mind boggling and saddening at the same time.
The future holds hopes for India, with the increase in agricultural output, the ability for the country to provide sufficient nutrition to all its children is very much achievable. Let us hope that we achieve the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting by 2025.
https://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/filesghi/2015/feature_3726.html (2015 GHI)
https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/130918.pdf (2016 GHI)
https://www.ifpri.org/publication/2017-globalhunger-index-inequalities-hunger (2017 GHI)