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Global hunger index 2019

Global hunger index 2019

Tag:GS-2||Governance & Social Justice||Human Development||Hunger& Famines

Why in News?

  • Recently, the 14th Global Hunger Index (GHI) was published and ranked India among the 117 countries and mapped at a low level of 102.
  • On the whole, the 2019 GHI report has found that the number of hungry people has risen from 785 million in 2015 to 822 million.

 What is the Global Hunger Index?

  • Welthungerhilfe (lately in partnership with Concern Worldwide) has produced the GHI almost every year since 2000.
  • A low score gives a higher ranking to a country that implies better performance.
  • The reason why hunger is mapped is to ensure that the world achieves’ Zero Hunger by 2030′–one of the United Nations ‘ Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Therefore, for certain high-income countries, GHI is not calculated.
  • GHI provides a much more comprehensive measure of hunger as it tracks the performance of different countries on four key parameters.

What are the four indicators of GHI?

  • Undernourishment
    • It reflects inadequate food availability.
    • It is calculated by the share of the population that is undernourished (whose caloric intake is insufficient).
  • Child Wasting
    • It reflects acute undernutrition.
    • It is calculated by the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (i.e., those who have low weight for their height).
  • Child Stunting
    • It reflects chronic undernutrition.
    • It is calculated by the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (i.e., those who have low height for their age).
  • Child Mortality
    • It reflects both inadequate nutrition and an unhealthy environment.
    • It is calculated by the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition.
  • Each country’s data are standardized on a 100-point scale and a final score is calculated after giving 33% weight each to components 1 and 4, and giving 16.66% weight each to components 2 and 3.

What does the 2019 index reveal?

  • In 2018, India was ranked 103 among the 119 countries were mapped.
  • The rank is one better in 2019 i.e. at 102, but in reality, India is not better off in comparison to the other countries.
  • The GHI slots countries on a scale ranging from ‘low’, ‘moderate’, ‘serious’, ‘alarming’ to ‘extremely alarming’ hunger levels.
  • India is one of the 47 countries that have ‘serious’ levels of hunger.
  • On the whole, the 2019 GHI report has found that,
    • The number of hungry people has risen from 785 million (2015) to 822 million.
    • Multiple countries have higher hunger levels now than in 2010.
    • Approximately 45 countries are set to fail to achieve ‘low’ levels of hunger by 2030.

 What is India’s score relative to those of the others?

  • India is the worst in the BRICS grouping, with China at 25.
  • In South Asia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan are behind India.
  • Saudi Arabia (rank 34), Venezuela (rank 65), Lesotho (rank 79) and North Korea (rank 92) are some of the countries ahead of India.
  • India has the largest democracy in the world and one of the largest economies, but most of India’s GHI countries are either badly governed and war-torn or ravaged by natural disasters. (E.g.): Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, etc.

Why is India ranked so low on GHI?

  • With an overall score of 30.3 (rank 102), India is between Niger (score 30.2) and Sierra Leone (score 30.4).
  • In 2000, India’s score was 38.8 and its hunger level was in the ‘alarming’ category.
  • Since then, India has steadily improved on most counts to reduce its score and is now slotted in the ‘serious’ category.
  • But the pace of India’s improvement has been relatively slow.
  • This is illustrated in the trajectory of Niger and Sierra Leone’s scores, which in 2000 was of 52.1 and 53.6, respectively.
  • They found themselves in the “extremely alarming” category of hunger and were much worse off than India.
  • Despite achieving relatively fast economic growth since 2000, India has not been able to make commensurate strides in reducing hunger.

Reasons for the slow improvements in India?

  • Child Wasting – Given the broader changes, one classification remains-Child Wasting is where India has worsened.
    • In other words, from 16.5 (2010) to 20.8 (2019), the number of children under the age of 5 suffering from waste has risen.
    • In this report, India’s child waste rate is extremely high at 20.8%, the highest waste rate in any country.
  • Child Stunting – India’s child stunting rate, 37.9%, is also categorized as very high in terms of its public health significance.
  • In India, just 6% of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet.
  • In 2014, the Prime Minister instituted the ‘Clean India’ campaign to end open defecation and ensure that all households had latrines.
  • Even with new latrine construction, the population’s health, and children’s growth and development as their ability to absorb nutrients is compromised.

Way forward

  • In India, immediate and long-term measures are needed to combat the rates of malnutrition.
  • Around 85 to 90 percent of waste can be managed at the community level.
  • Now, nationwide nutritional rehabilitation centers are coming up. It can help to deal with the institutional needs of the already malnourished children.
  • However, in order to prevent this from happening, Anganwadi mothers need to be educated on nutrition, access to clean drinking water and sanitation needs to be ensured, and security of living is needed.
  • Nonetheless, nutrition formulation needs to be made available at the community level for immediate intervention.
  • The government can utilize the existing network of public distribution system,have the self-help groups prepare packaged, portioned nutritional formulations to help the moderately malnourished before wasting happens.

Mains model questions

  • In the Global Hunger Index report, India has the highest percentage of children who suffer from acute undernutrition. On other parameters, where India has improved, the pace has been relatively slow?Explain