India way behind neighbours in hunger index

India way behind neighbours in hunger index

Released two days before the World Food Day i.e. 16 October, the Global Hunger Index 2013 report paints a gloomy picture of India. Its score of fighting hunger has improved only marginally in the past two decades while many of its neighbors have moved up from strength to strength. (See full report below)

The report entitled: The Challenge of Hunger: Building Resilience to achieve Food and Nutrition Security says that India has improved its GHI score from 32.6 in 1990 to 21.3 in 2013, and presently ranks 63rd. India's 2012 GHI score was 22.9 (rank: 65).

The country presently lags far behind many of its neighbours such as China (GHI: 5.5; Rank: 6), Sri Lanka (GHI: 15.6; Rank: 43), Nepal (GHI: 17.3; Rank: 49), Pakistan (GHI: 19.3; Rank: 57) and Bangladesh (GHI: 19.4; Rank: 58).

India's proportion of undernourished in the population declined from 26.9 percent during 1990-1992 to 17.5 percent during 2010-12. Its prevalence of underweight in children under five years declined from 59.5 percent during 1988-1992 to 40.2 percent during 2008-12. The proportion of children dying before the age of five declined from 11.4 percent in 1990 to 6.1 percent in 2011 (see table 1).

Table GHI
The report finds that most of the countries with alarming GHI scores are in Africa south of the Sahara with the exception of India, Haiti, Timor-Leste and Yemen. It adds that the number of the hungry in the world has remained unacceptably high: In 2010-2012, about 870 million people were chronically undernourished, and according to FAO, this number declined only slightly to 842 million in 2011-2013.

How is GHI measured?

The GHI combines three equally weighted indicators into one score: the proportion of people who are undernourished, the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and the proportion of children dying before the age of five. The 2013 GHI has been calculated for 120 countries for which data on the three component indicators are available and for which measuring hunger is considered most relevant. An increase in a country's GHI score indicates that the hunger situation is worsening, while a decrease in the score indicates improvement in the country's hunger situation.


Global Hunger Index 2013-The Challenge of Hunger: Buildng Resilience to achieve food and nutrition security (published in October 2013), brought out by International Food Policy Research Institute, Concern Worldwide, Welthungerhilfe and Institute of Development Studies

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

NSS 66th Round Report titled: Public Distribution System and Other Sources of Household Consumption (July 2009-June 2010), MoSPI

UNICEF report: Improving Child Nutrition: The achievable imperative for global progress (April, 2013),

Child's World Miserable: Highest under-5 Mortality,

Save the Children from Hunger and Malnutrition,

India accounts for 22 percent of Global Maternal Deaths,

Richer States, Poorer Performance, in reducing Malnutrition,

Climate Change will worsen child malnutrition,


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