Global Hunder Index : Frontier IAS Current Affairs I UPSC I IAS I HCS I RAS I UPPCS State PCS
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Gs Mains Paper 3

Global Hunder Index :  Frontier IAS Current Affairs I UPSC I IAS I HCS I RAS I  UPPCS State PCS

Global Hunger Index

India’s rank in the Global Hunger Index 2020 is dismal despite its huge food stock and public distribution system. Examine the underlying causes and suggest steps that can be taken. 

UPSC syllabus is given here check. 

Global Hunger Index

  • What is the Global Hunger Index?
  • What is meant by Hunger?
  • Global Hunger Index is published by which organisation?
  • How are the GHI scores calculated?

  • What is the focus of Global Hunger Index 2020?
  • What is the performance of various countries in the Global Hunger Index 2020?
  • What is India’s rank/performance in Global Hunger Index 2020?


What is the Global Hunger Index?

  • The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is a tool which is designed to measure hunger at various levels. For e.g. global, regional, and national levels.
  • GHI score is calculated each year to evaluate the progress as well as the failure in fighting against hunger.
  • It is basically designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger.
  • We can compare the hunger levels among various countries and regions by using it. 
  • By analysing the index, we can find the areas where hunger levels are higher.
  • This makes it easy to focus upon those specific areas so that additional efforts can be made to eliminate hunger.

What Is Meant By “HUNGER”?

Defining hunger is not an easy thing. Because it is a broader term and includes various factors. Different terms are used to describe its various forms. Some example used by various organizations and research agencies are given below:

  • Hunger is usually understood to refer to the distress associated with a lack of sufficient calories. 
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines food deprivation, or undernourishment, as the consumption of too few calories to provide the minimum amount of dietary energy that each individual requires to live a healthy and productive life, given that person’s sex, age, stature, and physical activity level.
  • Undernutrition is not measured in terms of calories. It is related to deficiencies in any or all of the following: energy, protein, essential vitamins and minerals, etc.
  • Insufficient intake of food causes undernutrition. This insufficiency can be quantitative or qualitative. Poor utilization of nutrients due to infections or other illnesses can be among other causes.
  • All these, in turn, are caused by a range of factors,
  • household food insecurity; 
  • inadequate maternal health or childcare practices; 
  • inadequate access to health services, safe water, and sanitation.
  • Malnutrition refers to both undernutrition (problems caused by deficiencies) and overnutrition (problems caused by unbalanced diets, such as consuming too many calories).

 

Global Hunger Index is published by which organisation?

  • Created in 2006, the GHI was initially published by the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Germany-based Welthungerhilfe.
  • In 2007, the Irish NGO Concern Worldwide also joined them and became a co-publisher.
  • In 2018, IFPRI stepped aside and the GHI became a joint project of Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

        



Note :

  • Concern Worldwide works with the world's poorest people to transform their lives. It is an international humanitarian organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and suffering in the world’s poorest countries.
  • Welthungerhilfe is one of the largest private aid organisations in Germany, independent of politics and religion. It was established in 1962, as the German section of the "Freedom from Hunger Campaign".

How are the GHI scores calculated?

  • The Global Hunger Index measures hunger on a 100-point scale.
  • 0 is the best score (no hunger) and 100 is the worst (although neither of these extremes is reached in practice).
  • The severity of hunger associated with the range of possible GHI scores is as follows:
  • Low ≤ 9.9
  • Moderate 10.0-19.9
  • Serious 20.0-34.9
  • Alarming 35.0-49.9
  • Extremely alarming ≥ 50.0

The GHI combines 4 component indicators:

  1. the proportion of the undernourished as a percentage of the population;
  2. the proportion of children under the age of five suffering from wasting, a sign of acute undernutrition;
  3. the proportion of children under the age of five suffering from stunting, a sign of chronic undernutrition; and
  4. the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

 

Note :

  1. UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is insufficient);
  2. CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition);
  3. CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and
  4. CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five (It reflects the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

Composition of the Global Hunger Index

What is the focus of Global Hunger Index 2020?

ONE DECADE TO ZERO HUNGER : LINKING HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS

Why we need to measure and map Hunger and Undernourishment ?

Mapping as measurement of Hunger and Undernourishment is necessary in order to keep track of it. It will help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals on time -

i.e. SDG-2 : Zero Hunger by 2030. 

What is the performance of various countries in the Global Hunger Index 2020?

Key findings of the Global Hunger Index 2020 :

  • Worldwide hunger is at a moderate level. ( i.e. Global average )
  • Africa South of the Sahara and South Asia witness the higher levels of hunger and undernutrition. (one in three children was stunted as of 2019 in these two regions.)
  • South Asia has the largest number of undernourished people in the world.
  • 3 countries have alarming levels of hunger - Chad, Timor-Leste, and Madagascar.
  • Hunger is universal i.e.,No region of the world is immune from hunger.
  • As per the indications given by the GHI 2020, the world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030.
  • All these findings have not taken into account the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The effects of which can be seen in near future. The chances are the increased levels of hunger and undernutrition.

 

Total countries evaluated this year - 132

Total countries ranked as per the data - 107

( For 25 countries, individual scores could not be calculated and ranks could not be determined because of lack of data. )

 

What is India’s rank and performance in Global Hunger Index 2020?

 

Rank - 94 (out of 107 countries)

Score - 27.2 

Level of hunger - Serious

 

India’s rank is lower if compared with the neighbors. 

Sri Lanka - 64

Nepal - 73

Bangladesh - 75

Myanmar - 78

Pakistan - 88

 

Highlights of the GHI 2020 report w.r.t India :

Undernourished population - 14%

Stunting rate among children under five - 37.4%

Wasting rate among children under five - 17.3%

Under-five mortality rate - 3.7%

Areas where India performed well :

  • Decline in under-five mortality.
  • Decrease in deaths due to birth trauma, neonatal infections, pneumonia & diarrhoea.

Areas of concern :

  • Child mortality caused by pre-maturing & low birth weight increased.
  • It is increased specifically in poorer states and rural areas.

Mains Question: India’s rank in the Global Hunger Index 2020 is dismal despite its huge food stock and public distribution system. Examine the underlying causes and suggest steps that can be taken. 

Introduction :

- Give a brief description about India’s position in GHI 2020

Questions asked in previous years from this paper, check here 

Body :

- Differentiate between Hunger and Hunger Index

- Give an introduction of Hunger index and its indicators

- Discuss about India's food stocks and PDS system and associated problems

 

Conclusion :

- Conclude by suggesting various steps to strengthen the food security measures of India

 

Answer :

 

India’s rank in the Global Hunger Index 2020 is 94 among 107 countries. This lower rank is very disappointing as well as inferior to almost all of its neighbours. For comparison, Sri Lanka - 64, Nepal - 73, Bangladesh - 75, Myanmar - 78, Pakistan - 88.

Basically, Hunger is satisfied with food. That means if any country has a huge food stock, then it’s people must not struggle to get a bite. 

But the Hunger and Hunger Index are two different things. Where Hunger is usually measured by lack of food (along with the desire to eat), the Hunger Index is calculated differently.

 

The Global Hunger Index uses four indicators to calculate the hunger score for a country (Low score means High ranking and a better performance ).These indicators are :

  • Undernourishment
  • Child wasting
  • Child stunting
  • Child mortality

 

So, it is clear that only having a huge food stock does not guarantee a high rank in the GHI. There are a lot many things to consider, other than food and hunger only, to get a good rank. For example, taking care of proper nourishment of pregnant women and lactating mothers, proper prenatal and neonatal care, fighting malnutrition, etc.

And this is the reason that India is not performing well from years in the GHI report despite being an agrarian country and having a large stock of food grains.

  • If we talk about the current stock limit of the Food Corporation of India, it is huge enough to satisfy the needs of the whole country for three years continuously in case of any emergency.
  • From World War II to till date, the PSD system of India has evolved into one of the World’s largest PDS. Lakhs of Fair Price Shops and Crores of beneficiaries make it largest in terms of numbers.

But Quality is usually compromised over Quantity. And this is also the case with India.

 

Some of the reasons behind India’s low ranking in the GHI, that can be pointed out from various researches and expert opinions are as follows :

  •  Poor implementation of various government schemes.
  • Lack of effective monitoring resulting in false beneficiaries and neglect of the needy.
  • Fragmented (instead of integrated) approach in tackling malnutrition.
  • Dismal performance mainly by larger states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, etc.

 

Studies have found that the problems of stunting and wasting are mainly found among the children from various Scheduled Tribes families along with the families facing multiple forms of deprivations like :

  • Improper dietary diversity
  • Inadequate maternal education
  • Poor healthcare facilities
  • Lack of safe drinking water
  • Household poverty, etc.

 

Need of the hour is to integrate the existing government schemes so as to get an integrated approach to fight malnutrition as well as stunting and wasting among children. Some of the steps that can be taken are :

  • Strengthening of existing network of Public Distribution System.
  • Proper implementation of existing schemes like Antyodya Anna Yojana.
  • Proper monitoring of the system to identify the needy and make them beneficiaries.
  • Major parts of the problem can be solved at community level.
  • Anganwadis and Primary Health Care Centres can contribute a lot on a community level.
  • Focusing upon the progress of larger and poorer states and rural areas.

Some of the Government initiatives are already in action, like National Nutrition Mission, POSHAN Abhiyaan, Mid Day Meal Scheme, National Plan of Action on Nutrition (NPAN), National Nutrition Strategy (NNS), National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013. A new set of guidelines integrating all these efforts can make a change and bring up the desired results at national as well as the global levels.

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