Global Hunger Index: India slips to 107 from 101, behind all Asian countries except war-torn Afghanistan

Other countries in the same classification as India include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Zambia, Botswana, Sudan, Ethiopia and Mali

By Taran Deol
Published: Saturday 15 October 2022

India’s rank on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) slipped from 101 in 2021 to 107 in 2022, out of 121 countries.

The country is lagging behind its neighbours, Nepal (81), Pakistan (99), Sri Lanka (64) and Bangladesh (84). Afghanistan, with a rank of 109, is the only Asian country behind India.

India scored 29.1 on the GHI, which classifies it under the ‘serious’ category. Other countries in the same classification include Pakistan (26.1), Afghanistan (29.9), Zambia (29.3), Botswana (20), Sudan (28.8), Ethiopia (27.6) and Mali (23.2).

The GHI is calculated based on four key indicators to gauge and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels. These indicators are undernourishment, child stunting, child wasting and child mortality.

Source: Global Hunger Index, 2022

“The problem of hunger is complex. The GHI includes four indicators to reflect the multidimensional nature of hunger. Together, they reflect deficiencies in calories as well as in micronutrients,” the GHI noted.

A score is calculated based on a country’s performance in these indices out of 100, where 0 is the best. India’s performance on all four indicators was poor, particularly for the prevalence of wasting in children under five years of age.

Child wasting has increased to 19.3 in 2022 from 15.1 in 2014. The proportion of undernourished in the population grew to 16.3 in 2022 from 14.8 in 2014.

India improved its performance on the other two indicators — prevalence of stunting in children under five years of age and under-five mortality. Down from 38.7 in 2014 to 35.5 in 2022 for the former and 4.6 to 3.3 for the latter in the same duration.

Source: Global Hunger Index, 2022

While India has made progress over the years, there is a long way to go, particularly in terms of improving its children’s health.

The country has improved its score from 38.8 points in 2000, considered alarming, to 29.1 in 2022, considered serious.

“India’s proportion of undernourished in the population is considered to be at a medium level and its under-five child mortality rate is considered low,” the GHI report noted.

While child stunting has seen a significant decrease — from 54.2 per cent in 1998–1999 to 35.5 per cent in 2019–2021 — it is still considered very high, the report added.

India has the highest child-wasting rate (19.3 per cent) of all countries covered in the GHI, according to the latest data. “This rate is higher than it was in 1998–1999, when it was 17.1 percent,” the report noted.

Globally, there have been tremendous setbacks in addressing the hunger problem, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts and the war in Ukraine.

The GHI terms these setbacks as a transition from a crisis to a catastrophe. The report recommended a three-pronged approach to policy-making to address the situation.

These include “putting inclusive governance and accountability at the centre of efforts to transform food systems; ensuring citizens’ participation, action and oversight; and considering the local context and scaling up resources to address pressing humanitarian needs.”

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