Saturday, 15 October 2016

Global Hunger Index, 2016

  •  India ranked 97th out of 118 countries on the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) Global Hunger Index (GHI) in 2016, behind Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, among others, but ahead of Pakistan and three other Asian countries. It was positioned at 80 out of 104 countries the previous year.
  • India is faring worse than all its neighbours China (29), Nepal (72), Myanmar (75), Sri Lanka (84) and Bangladesh (90), except for Pakistan (107) in measures of hunger.
  • According to the latest Global Hunger Index data, hunger levels in developing countries may have fallen 29% since 2000, but India is still rated as a country with ‘serious’ hunger levels in the 2016.
  • India was ranked 83 in 2000 and 102 in 2008 with GHI scores of 38.2 and 36 respectively. This implies that, while hunger levels in India have diminished somewhat, the improvement has been outstripped by several other countries. Hence India's ranking is worse today than it was 15 years ago. In fact, Bangladesh was ranked 84 with a score of 38.5 in 2000, just below India. But in 2016, it has improved beyond India with a GHI score of 27.1 and a rank of 90 to India's 97.
  • Overall, global hunger levels are down by about 29% compared to 2000. Twenty countries, including Rwanda, Cambodia, and Myanmar, have reduced their GHI scores by over 50% each since 2000. And, for the second year in a row, no developing country for which data was available featured in the "extremely alarming" category .
  • While India has improved its score on various parameters over the past few years, two out of five children below five years of age are stunted in India. Stunting measures chronic malnutrition and affected children’s height would be considerably below the average for their age.
  • The GHI is calculated by taking into account four key parameters: shares of undernourished population, wasted and stunted children aged under 5, and infant mortality rate of the same age group.
About Global hunger index:
  • The report is released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • The hunger index ranks countries based on undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting (low weight for height) and child stunting (low height for age).
  • The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale. Zero is the best score (no hunger), and 100 is the worst, although neither of these extremes is reached in practice.
  • Although India runs two of the world's biggest children's nutrition programmes, the ICDS for children under 6 years and the mid-day meal programme for school going kids up to the age of 14, malnutrition continues to haunt India.
  • Endemic poverty, unemployment, lack of sanitation and safe drinking water, and lack of effective healthcare are main factors for the sorry state.
  • Compared with previous years, marked improvement has taken place in child stunting and under-5 mortality rates but the proportion of undernourished people has declined only marginally from 17% in 2000 to the current 15%. The share of wasted children has inched down similarly.
  • If hunger continues to decline at the same rate it has been falling since 1992, around 45 countries, including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan will still have ‘moderate’ to ‘alarming’ hunger scores in year 2030, far short of the United Nations’ goal to end hunger by that year.
  • India is slated to become the world’s most populous nation in just six years, and it’s crucial that we meet this milestone with a record of ensuring that the expected 1.4 billion Indians have enough nutritious food to lead healthy and successful lives.
  • Countries must accelerate the pace at which they are reducing hunger or we will fail to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal.
  • Ending global hunger is certainly possible, but it is up to all of us that we set the priorities right to ensure that the government, the private sector and civil society devote the time and resources necessary to meet this important goal.
  • The hunger index numbers indeed throw some serious questions on the course of ongoing government programmes to alleviate poverty and malnutrition in the country, and whether we have prioritised this problem the way it should be.

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