• As per the 2019 Global Hunger Index report, neighbouring countries such as China (GHI score: 6.5; GHI rank: 25), Sri Lanka (GHI score: 17.1; GHI rank: 66), Myanmar (GHI score: 19.8; GHI rank: 69), Nepal (GHI score: 20.8; GHI rank: 73), Bangladesh (GHI score: 25.8; GHI rank: 88) and Pakistan (GHI score: 28.5; GHI rank: 94) have outperformed India (GHI score: 30.3; GHI rank: 102) *13
• As per the 2018 Global Hunger Index report, neighbouring countries such as China (GHI score: 7.6; GHI rank: 25), Nepal (GHI score: 21.2; GHI rank: 72), Myanmar (GHI score: 20.1; GHI rank: 68), Sri Lanka (GHI score: 17.9; GHI rank: 67) and Bangladesh (GHI score: 26.1; GHI rank: 86) have outperformed India (GHI score: 31.1; GHI rank: 103). However, Pakistan (GHI score: 32.6; GHI rank: 106) and Afghanistan (GHI score: 34.3; GHI rank: 111) have performed worse than India *12
• As per the 2017 Global Hunger Index report, neighbouring countries such as China (GHI score: 7.5; GHI rank: 29), Nepal (GHI score: 22.0; GHI rank: 72), Myanmar (GHI score: 22.6; GHI rank: 77), Sri Lanka (GHI score: 25.5; GHI rank: 84) and Bangladesh (GHI score: 26.5; GHI rank: 88) have outperformed the country (GHI score: 31.4; GHI rank: 100). However, Pakistan (GHI score: 32.6; GHI rank: 106) and Afghanistan (GHI score: 33.3; GHI rank: 107) have performed worse than India *11
• India ranks 97th among 118 countries in terms of 2016 Global Hunger Index. The country has improved its GHI score from 46.4 during 1992 to 38.2 during 2000, and further to 36.0 during 2008. It has a GHI score of 28.5 during 2016 *10
• India ranks 80th among 117 countries during 2015 in terms of Global Hunger Index score. The country has improved its GHI score to 29 in 2015 from 38.5 in 2005. A lower number means fewer people are going hungry *9
• It is estimated that the number of undernourished people in India will rise from 189.9 million in 2010-12 to 194.6 million in 2014-16 *8
• The prevalence of underweight in children fell by almost 13 percentage points between 2005–2006 and 2013–2014. India no longer ranks second-to-last in the world on underweight in children. Instead, it has moved into the 120th spot among 128 countries *7
• Between 1990-92 and 2012-14, the number of people undernourished in India has declined by 9.5 percent. Between 1990-92 and 2012-14, the proportion of undernourished in the total population of India has declined by 36.0 percent *6
• India and China are the major contributors of the water footprint of cereals in their respective regions. Wastage of cereals in Asia is a significant problem, with major impacts on carbon emissions and water and land use. Rice's profile is particularly noticeable, given its high methane emissions combined with a large level of wastage. FAO estimates that each year, approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption in the world is lost or wasted *5
13. 2019 Global Hunger Index: The Challenge of Hunger and Climate Change, released in October, 2019, Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, please click here to access
12. 2018 Global Hunger Index: Forced Migration and Hunger, released in October 2018, please click here to access
11. 2017 Global Hunger Index: The Inequalities of Hunger (released in October 2017), published by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Concern Worldwide & Welthungerhilfe, please click here to access
10. 2016 Global Hunger Index: Getting to Zero Hunger (released in October 2016), produced by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Concern Worldwide, and Welthungerhilfe (WHH), please click here to access
9. 2015 Global Hunger Index: Armed Conflict and the Challenge of Hunger (released in October 2015), produced by International Food Policy Research Institute, Concern Worldwide, Welthungerhilfe and World Peace Foundation/ Tufts University, please click here to access
8. State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 (released in May 2015), FAO, please click here to access
7. Global Hunger Index 2014: The Challenge of Hidden Hunger, prepared by InternationalFood Policy Research Institute, Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide, please click here to download
6. The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014: Strengthening the enabling environment for food security and nutrition, FAO, WFP and IFAD, please click here to download
5. FAO report: Food Wastage Footprints: Impacts on Natural Resources (2013)
4. FAO report: The State of Food and Agriculture 2013-Food Systems for Better Nutrition, http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3300e/i3300e.pdf
3. NSS 66th Round Report titled: Perceived Adequacy of Food Consumption in Indian Households (February, 2013) July 2009-June 2010, MoSPI, GoI, http://mospi.nic.in/Mospi_New/upload/nss_report_547.pdf
Liberalisation has brought handsome gains for India’s middle classes. Life is good and getting better; more and more people are holidaying abroad; buying of vehicles or property has never been easier. Slimming and low calorie diets are a rage. There has also been spectacular rise in social and economic inequalities but the per capita food availability and the calorie intake of the desperately poor people have both fallen since liberalisation. The situation has only worsened in the past two years with the prices of food grain, pulses and vegetables hitting the roof. India continues to be home to one third of the world’s underweight children.
Unlike the last centuries, the incidence of widespread hunger is unpardonable in today’s world, partly because of the global availability of food being a whole lot more than the mankind’s requirement, and partly because easy global connectivity has made it possible to address food emergencies very quickly. However, what has not changed through the ages is the lack of policies targeted specifically at eradicating hunger or at augmenting incomes at the lowest levels.
India has passed the National Food Security Act (NFSA), which aims to fight hunger and extreme poverty. It seeks to make the families below the poverty line (BPL) entitled to 25 kg of wheat or rice at Rs 3 per kg. The law is clearly, and laudably, aimed at addressing hunger through policy intervention. In a way the right to life has always been meaningless in the absence of a right to food but then causing death through faulty state policies has never been a cognizable offence anywhere in the world. Maybe the time has come now to think on those lines.