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'Serious methodological issues': Govt on India's lower Global Hunger Index 2021 ranking

'Serious methodological issues': Govt on India's lower Global Hunger Index 2021 ranking

The WCD statement said they don't use scientific methodology to measure undernourishment as this would require measure of height and weight

India slipped from 94th position in 2020 to 101st of 116 countries in the GHI ranking in 2021 India slipped from 94th position in 2020 to 101st of 116 countries in the GHI ranking in 2021

The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has slammed Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe for lowering India's ranking in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 report released yesterday.

The ministry lambasted these agencies for giving India 101th rank out of 116 by factoring in "FAO estimate on proportion of undernourished population, which is found to be devoid of ground reality and facts and suffers from serious methodological issues."

It said the FAO methodology to arrive at these rankings and statistics is "unscientific" and its assessment is based on the results of a "four question opinion poll conducted telephonically by Gallup".

The statement said they don't use scientific methodology to measure undernourishment like availability of foodgrains per capita as this would require measure of height and weight.

"The report completely disregards government's massive effort to ensure food security of the entire population during the COVID period, verifiable data on which are available. The representativeness of even this opinion poll is doubtful for India and other countries," the statement said.

Some of the initiatives taken by the government to tackle issues like malnutrition and hunger are Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) and Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme (ANBS) as an economic response to the coronavirus crisis.

The government allocated 3.22 crore metric tonnes of foodgrains free in 2020 and 3.28 crore metric tonne foodgrains in 2021 for 80 crore beneficiaries. Besides, the Centre also provided pulses at 1 kg per household per month for April-November 2020 free to all NFSA beneficiaries, covering 19.4 crore households, the statement added.

"ln addition to PMGKAY and ANBS, Government of India has allocated food grains under Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) for all the beneficiaries to whom ration cards have been issued by the State Governments under their own schemes but who are not covered under NFSA for three months from April to June 2020 at Rs 21 per kg wheat and Rs 22/- per kg rice. There is no upper limit for allocation of food grains.  This scheme has been extended beyond May 2021," it said.

For the unversed, India slipped from 94th position in 2020 to 101st of 116 countries in the GHI ranking in 2021. India is behind its neighbours like Pakistan (92), Bangladesh (76), Myanmar (71) and Nepal (76). The report termed the level of hunger in India as 'alarming'. India' GHI score went down from 38.8 in 2000 to the range of 28.8-27.5 between 2012 and 2021.

The GHI score is calculated on the basis of undernourishment, child wasting (share of children under the age of five, who are wasted or have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition), child stunting (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition), and child mortality (mortality rate of children under the age of five).

While the government slammed this report, Congress leader Kapil Sibbal, AIMIM President and Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi, Shiv Sena spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan lambasted the government on India's low ranking.

Edited by Mehak Agarwal

Also read: Why food fortification is the answer to India’s malnutrition woes

Also read: Global Hunger Index 2021: India slides to 101st rank; behind Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal