Hunger Overview

Hunger Overview



• 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 ##

• India ranks 80 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 #$

• As compared to India, China's ranking is 21 (GHI score: 8.6) and Pakistan's ranking is 93 (GHI score: 33.9) in 2015 #$


• 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 @$

• Although India reduced the number of undernourished people by 9.6 percent from 210.1 million during 1990-92 to 189.9 million during 2010-12, China reduced the number of undernourished people by 43.5 percent from 289 million during 1990-92 to 163.2 million during 2010-12 @$

• India has reduced the proportion of undernourished in the population from 23.7% in 1990-92 to 15.6% in 2010-12. During 2014-16, the proportion of undernourished in the population is estimated to be 15.2% @$


• 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 *$

• Progress in dealing with underweight helped India’s 2014 GHI score fall to 17.8. India now ranks 55th out of 76 countries, before Bangladesh and Pakistan, but still trails behind neighboring Nepal (rank 44) and Sri Lanka (rank 39) *$


• 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 *


• 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 $$

• For India, Stein and Qaim (2007) estimated that the combined economic cost of iron-deficiency anaemia, zinc deficiency, vitamin A deficiency and iodine deficiency amounts to around 2.5 percent of GDP. The cost to the global economy caused by malnutrition, as a result of lost productivity and direct health care costs, could account for as much as 5 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent to US$3.5 trillion per year or US$500 per person. The costs of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are estimated at 2–3 percent of global GDP, equivalent to US$1.4–2.1 trillion per year $

• The all-India percentage of households reporting getting two square meals every day throughout the year has gradually increased over the last 16 years from 94.5% in 1993-94 to about 99% in 2009-10 in rural India and from about 98% in 1993-94 to 99.6% in 2009-10 in urban India. The gap between the rural and urban percentages has narrowed appreciably £

• In India, underweight prevalence rate among children aged 0-59 months declined from 64 percent in 1993 to 61 percent in 2006 among the poorest 20 percent while the same declined from 37 percent in 1993 to 25 percent in 2006 among the richest 20 percent. Therefore, a greater reduction in underweight prevalence occurred in the richest 20% of households than in the poorest 20% Þ

• The total number of undernourished people in India stood at 240 million during 1990-1992, 224 million during 1999-2001, 238 million during 2004-06, 227 million during 2007-2009 and 217 million during 2010-2012

• About 870 million people globally are estimated to have been undernourished (in terms of dietary energy supply) in the period 2010–12. This figure represents 12.5 percent of the global population or one in eight people


## 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


#$ 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) 


@$ State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 (released in May 2015), FAO (please click here to access)


*$ Global Hunger Index 2014: The Challenge of Hidden Hunger, prepared by InternationalFood Policy Research Institute, Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide (please click here to download) 


* 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)


$$ FAO report: Food Wastage Footprints: Impacts on Natural Resources (2013)

$ FAO report: The State of Food and Agriculture 2013-Food Systems for Better Nutrition,


£ NSS 66th Round Report titled: Perceived Adequacy of Food Consumption in Indian Households (February, 2013) July 2009-June 2010, MoSPI, GoI,

Þ 2013 Hunger Report-Within Reach Global Development Goals (2012), published by Bread for the World Institute,

€ The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012, FAO, WFP, IFAD, 



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 is currently drafting a food security law 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. 

Rural Experts

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