While average Indian can bask in the reflected glory of the news having 237 billionaires and daydream about his time which has already arrived – ” apna time ayega nahi, apna time aa gaya” as proclaimed by one of those billionaires from a media house conclave’s shiny podium, the reality is rearing it’s ugly head in the form of Global Hunger Index, ranking India at 101 out of 116 countries.
The Global Hunger Index, published every year, calculates the hunger levels and malnutrition across the world. This year, the report accessed data from 135 countries but evaluated only 116 of them as they found that there was no sufficient data from the remaining 19 countries.
In the 2021 Global Hunger Index published on Thursday, India’s rank fell six places down from 94 last year. It is now behind its neighbour Pakistan which is at 92. Nepal and Bangladesh share 76th position. India’s rank 101 is slightly above Afghanistan 103 and Papua New Guinea 102.
The Hunger Index uses four indicators based on which the score is calculated. These are undernourishment, child wasting (the share of children under the age of five with low weight for their height), child stunting (children under the age of five with low height for their age) and child mortality (the mortality rate of children under the age of five).
India’s global hunger index score is 27.5 puts India in the “serious” category along with 30 other countries, including Pakistan. Other categories are “low”, “moderate”, “alarming” and “extremely alarming”. Nepal and Bhutan are in the “moderate” category.
In the indicator measuring child wasting, which reflects acute undernutrition, India performs the worst. Child wasting in India was 17.3% just like last year. with slight improvement from 2019’s 20.8%.
Ten countries at the Top includes Brazil and China. Five countries, Republic of Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Yemen and Central African Republic are placed in the “alarming” category. Somalia finds place in “extremely alarming” category.
While describing world’s commitment to zero hunger as “tragically distant”, the report notes “the world as a whole – and 47 countries in particular – will fail to achieve even low hunger by 2030,”
Report has lamented that Conflict, climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic are three of the most powerful and toxic forces driving hunger have threatened to wipe out any progress that has been made against hunger in recent years.