New Delhi: India has ranked 111th out of the 125 countries on the 2023 Global Hunger Index (GHI), slipping four places since last year. However, the government has rejected the report calling it “flawed” and “erroneous”.
“With a score of 28.7 in the 2023 Global Hunger Index, India has a level of hunger that is serious,” said the global report released on Thursday by Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe, Non-Government Organisations from Ireland and Germany respectively.
In 2022, India ranked 107 out of the 125 countries.
The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, in a statement, refuted the claims and said that the index “continues to be a flawed measure of ‘Hunger’ and does not reflect India’s true position”.
The GHI report ranked Pakistan at 102, Bangladesh at 81, Nepal at 69 and Sri Lanka at 60. South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa were the regions with the highest hunger levels.
“The index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues. Three out of the four indicators used for calculation of the index are related to the health of children and cannot be representative of the entire population,” the ministry said.
“The fourth and most important indicator ‘Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population’ is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3,000,” it added.
Meanwhile, the report also counted India with the world’s highest child wasting rate of 18.7 per cent, indicating acute undernutrition.
The rate of undernourishment in India stood at 16.6 per cent and under-five mortality at 3.1 per cent.
The report also said that the prevalence of anaemia in women aged between 15 and 24 years stood at 58.1 per cent
“Two other indicators, namely, Stunting and Wasting are outcomes of complex interactions of various other factors like sanitation, genetics, environment and utilisation of food intake apart from hunger which is taken as the causative/outcome factor for stunting and wasting in the GHI,” the ministry said.
It noted that there is hardly any evidence that the fourth indicator, namely, child mortality is an outcome of hunger.
The ministry said that since April 2023, the measurement data of children under five years uploaded on the Poshan Tracker has consistently increased – from 6.34 crore in April 2023 to 7.24 crore in September 2023.
“The percentage of child wasting, as seen on the Poshan Tracker, has been consistently below 7.2 per cent, month-on-month, as compared to the value of 18.7 per cent used for child wasting in the Global Hunger Index 2023,” the ministry said in the statement.