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India is falling in the Global Hunger Index, ranking 107th out of 121 countries
Asia’s third-largest economy has seen impressive economic growth in recent decades, but is faring poorly, according to the United Nations’ Human Development Index.
India has fallen six places in the 2022 Global Hunger Index (GHI) to rank 107 out of 121 countries, according to a report released on Friday.
Asia’s third-largest economy fared worse than other South Asian countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It was the third year in a row that India’s ranking has fallen in the rankings – previously it was at 101 in 2021 and 94 in 2020.
The GHI, jointly published by Germany’s Welthungerhilfe and Dublin-based Concern Worldwide, which ranks countries by “severity”, gave India a score of 29.1 – a level of hunger falling under the “severe” category.
The index has five levels of hunger that each country falls under – low, moderate, severe, alarming and extremely alarming.
Based on data from 2019–2021, 16.3 percent of India’s population was undernourished. India is home to the second largest population in the world with 1.4 billion people.
“South Asia … has the highest rate of child stunting and by far the highest rate of child wasting of any region in the world,” the report said, adding that India’s child wasting rate of 19.3 percent was the “highest of any country” in the world.
According to the World Health Organization, stunting is when a person is too thin for their height as a result of failing to gain weight or experiencing rapid weight loss.
The Indian government issued a statement criticizing the report for using a “flawed measure of hunger”, adding that it “suffered from serious methodological problems”.
“Three of the four indicators used to calculate the index relate to child health and may not be representative of the entire population,” the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development said.
In terms of stunting rates, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan each scored between 35 and 38 percent, with Afghanistan’s rate being the highest in South Asia, the GHI report said.
India is one of the best performing economies in the world with a growth rate of over six percent.
“India is doing quite well in 2022 and is expected to continue growing quite strongly in 2023,” International Monetary Fund chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas said on Tuesday.
But the country also faces stark inequality, with the top 10 percent holding nearly 80 percent of the nation’s total wealth. India has a gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.46 trillion.
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