Global Hunger Index is erroneous, shows ‘malafide intent’: SJM
Days after the government said that the Global Hunger Index continues to be “an erroneous measure of hunger with serious methodological issues and shows a malafide intent”, Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) also expressed its “deep anguish” at the report and said it is natural to raise questions on it.
Terming it “another mischievous report”, SJM said like previous years, a German organization Welt Hungerhilfe, has published its ‘Hunger Index’ and the hunger ranking of the countries of the world based on the same. It said India has been placed at a very low at 111 position in the ranking among 125 countries.
“Last year in 2022, Bharat was ranked 107th in the list of 121 countries and in 2021, India was ranked 101st in the ranking of 116 countries,” SJM said in a release. “If we believe the report, the performance of countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc., who themselves are dependent on food supplies from Bharat, is much better than India. In such a situation, it is natural to raise questions on this report. If we consider production and availability of food, India ranks 35th in the world in the latest global ranking (2020) of 188 countries,” said the release issued by SJM.
“The continuously increasing per capita production of food grains, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, fish etc. confirms that Bharat is today producing sufficient, or even surplus food, compared to demand,” SJM added. The release said that according to the data published by the Sample Registration System of India, the child mortality rate had decreased from 35 per thousand in 2019 to 32 per thousand in the year 2020.
“If this rate of decline in child mortality is considered, then it was expected to reach 24.4 by the year 2023. In such a situation, there is no reason why the outdated child mortality rate in India should be taken at 31 per thousand, to estimate the hunger index of 2023 in Bharat,” it said.
“About malnutrition, Welt Hungerhilfe does not have any factual and credible data, as the household consumption survey by the concerned official agency has not been conducted since 2011. But unfortunately, Welt Hungerhilfe puts the figure of malnutrition at 16.6 per cent, it added.
The SJM, which is an RSS affiliate, said that Poshan Tracker, a Government of India initiative, has published data based on real-time figures obtained from more than seven crore children covered under the scheme. “Poshan Tracker data puts malnutrition in children to be 7.7 in February. Notably malnutrition in the population can’t be in much variance with malnutrition in children.,” it said and added that stunting cannot be a suitable criterion to measure hunger in the country as there are variable geographical and other factors. Referring to the Global Hunger Report, SJM urged people not to believe “such reports with malafide intentions”.
“We call upon the Government of Bharat to take this issue at the diplomatic level and curb the publication of such reports. The issue must also be taken up with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and other UN agencies to expedite correction in their respective data sets, based on official data provided by the Government of Bharat,” it said.
The govt had said on Sunday that the Global Hunger Index continues to be a flawed measure of ‘hunger’ and does not reflect India’s true position.
“The Global Hunger Report 2023 released by Concern Worldwide and Welt Hunger Hilfe, Non-Government Organisations from Ireland and Germany respectively, has ranked India at 111 among 125 countries. The index is an erroneous measure of hunger and suffers from serious methodological issues,” the Ministry of Women and Child Development said in a release. “Three out of the four indicators used for calculation of the index are related to the health of children and cannot be representative of the entire population. The fourth and most important indicator ‘Proportion of Undernourished (PoU) population’ is based on an opinion poll conducted on a very small sample size of 3000,” it added. The ministry said that the measurement of over seven crore children shows wasting at about one-third of that used in the Global Hunger Index. It said the government is committed to ensuring the food security of citizens.