The government has said that the 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, which ranked India at 107th position, was “erroneous” and has serious methodological issues.
“Global Hunger Report 2022 – Index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues. Misinformation seems to be hallmark of the annually released Global Hunger Index Series of measures taken by the government to ensure food security,” the Ministry of Women and Child Development said in a press release on Sunday (October 16).
The GHI report has ranked India at 107 among 121 countries, showing a drop by six positions from that in the previous GHI report. In 2021, India was ranked at 101st position.
This time, however, it is among the lowest ranked Asian economies and behind neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. India’s current GHI score is 29.1 (countries scoring between 20 and 35 are considered to be having grievous hunger concerns).
In a scathing rejoinder, the ministry said the GHI deliberately ignored efforts made by the government to ensure food security, especially that made during the COVID-19 pandemic and that three of its four indicators used to calculate rankings were related to the health of children and cannot be used to represent the entire population.
“The fourth and most important indicator estimate of Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3,000,” the ministry said.
The release said that the GHI report takes a “one-dimensional view” and “lowers India’s rank based on the estimate of PoU population for India at 16.3 per cent.”
The government also accused the publishing agencies Global Hunger Report, Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe of not doing their due diligence before releasing g the report.
Speaking in the defence of the Modi government, the ministry said, contrary to what the GHI report says, the Indian government has actually taken a series of strong measures to ensure food security, including running the largest food security programme in the world.
To make its case, the ministry mentioned the government’s decision to provide additional free-of-cost foodgrains to around 80 crore beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act after the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the supplementary nutrition programme being carried out for children upto the age of six years and lactating mothers and the stipend of ₹5,000 provided to over 1.5 crore first-time mothers to be able to avail nutritious food during pregnancy and post-delivery.